WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2015
work /wɝk/USA pronunciation
n., adj., v., workedor ( Archaic except in some senses, esp.35,37,40)wrought/rɔt/USA pronunciation;
[uncountable] the use of effort or action to produce or accomplish something;
labor:Cleaning that whole house is a lot of work.
[uncountable] a task or something to do or be done:The students finished their work in class.
[uncountable] productive activity, esp. a job or employment:He's been looking for work ever since he graduated.
[uncountable] a place of employment:Don't phone me at work.
[uncountable] something on which work is being or is to be done:I have enough work here on my desk to last all month.
the result of exertion, labor, or activity, as a building, book, work of art, etc.: [countable]the collected works of Robert Louis Stevenson; Bach's musical works.[uncountable]a shoemaker who takes pride in his work.
Civil Engineering[countable] something, as a wall, built as a means of fortification:an earthen work built as a barrier.
- [countable] a place or establishment for manufacturing: [singular; used with a singular verb]A new steel works is to be built there.[plural;
used with a plural verb]The steel works are not yet built.
Physics[uncountable][Physics.]the transfer of energy measured by multiplying the amount of force by the distance through which it acts.
the works, [plural]
- [plural; used with a plural verb] the working parts of a machine:The works of the watch are broken.
- everything:She wants a hamburger with the works: pickles, cheese, tomatoes, and onions.
adj. [before a noun]
of, for, or concerning work:work clothes.
[no object] to do work:The mechanic had to work for two hours on that car.
to be employed (at): [no object]She works at a factory.[~ + object]He's working two jobs.
[~ + object] to cause to work:That new boss works his employees hard.
[~ + object] to use or operate (an apparatus, machine, etc.):She works a gigantic steam press machine.
[no object] to be functional, as a machine; operate:He got the machine to work again.
[no object] to prove effective:This plan works.
to (cause to) come to be, as by repeated movement: [no object]The nails worked loose.[~ + object]The nails worked themselves loose.
to have an effect (on), as on a person's feelings: [no object]Don't try tears and crying; that doesn't work on him.[~ + object]Diet and exercise worked wonders on him.
[~ + object] to cause a strong emotion in:That speaker is able to work crowds into a frenzy.
[~ + object] to bring about by or as if by work:to work a change for the better.
[~ + object] to make or fashion by work:to work a piece of sculpture with one's hands.
to make (one's way) with effort: [~ + object]We worked our way slowly through the crowd.[no object]We worked slowly through the crowd.
[~ + object] to carry on business, etc., operations in (a place or region):He worked the Atlantic Coast for sales and advertising.
work in or into, [~ + object + in/into + object] to include after some effort:Try to work me into your schedule.
work off, to get rid of: [~ + off + object]to work off a few pounds by exercising.[~ + object + off]to work a few pounds off by exercising.
work on, [~ + on + object] to try to influence or persuade:He tried to work on them to drop the lawsuit.
- unpleasant or nasty treatment:She gave him the works for betraying her.
- to solve, as a problem: [~ + out + object]to work out a problem between friends.[~ + object + out]We can work it out.
- to arrive at by or as if by calculation: [~ + out + object]to work out a new schedule.[~ + object + out]to work a new schedule out with the boss.
- to prove effective or suitable: [no object]Their marriage just didn't work out.[~ + object + out]Things have a way of working themselves out.
- [no object] to amount:The bill works out to almost fifty dollars each, including (the) tip.
- [no object] to exercise or train, esp. in an athletic sport.
- to study or examine carefully or thoroughly: [~ + over + object]The accountant worked over the figures.[~ + object + over]to work the figures over.
work through, [~ + through + object] to deal with successfully:to work through one's problems.
- to beat or hurt (someone) completely, fiercely, etc.: [~ + over + object]The gang worked over their latest victim and left him dying in the street.[~ + object + over]They really worked him over.
- to stir the feelings of; excite: [~ + up + object]to work up the crowd into a frenzy.[~ + object + up]to work the crowd up.
- to prepare; develop: [~ + up + object]to work up a plan.[~ + object + up]to work a plan up.
- [~ + up + object] to develop by exercise or exertion:to work up a sweat.
- working, as at one's job:I'm at work between nine and five.
- Idiomsin the works, in preparation:His new book is still in the works.
- Idiomsout of work, not employed.
Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::
works /wɜːks/ pl n
- (often functioning as singular) a place where a number of people are employed, such as a factory
- the sum total of a writer's or artist's achievements, esp when considered together: the works of Shakespeare
- the deeds of a person, esp virtuous or moral deeds performed as religious acts: works of charity
- the interior parts of the mechanism of a machine, etc: the works of a clock
- in the works ⇒ informal in preparation
- the works ⇒ slang full or extreme treatment
- a very violent physical beating: to give someone the works
'Works' also found in these entries: