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.
  • works: 
    • [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.
    • [plural; used with a plural verb] the working parts of a machine:The works of the watch are broken.
  • Physics[uncountable][Physics.]the transfer of energy measured by multiplying the amount of force by the distance through which it acts.
  • the works, [plural]
    • everything:She wants a hamburger with the works: pickles, cheese, tomatoes, and onions.
    • unpleasant or nasty treatment:She gave him the works for betraying her.

    adj. [before a noun]
  • of, for, or concerning work:work clothes.

  • v. 
  • [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.
  • work out: 
    • 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.
    work over: 
    • to study or examine carefully or thoroughly: [+ over + object]The accountant worked over the figures.[+ object + over]to work the figures over.
    • 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.
  • work through, [+ through + object] to deal with successfully:to work through one's problems.
  • work up: 
    • 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.
      at work: 
      • working, as at one's job:I'm at work between nine and five.
    1. Idiomsin the works, in preparation:His new book is still in the works.
    2. Idiomsout of work, not employed.

    Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::

    works /wɜːks/ pl n
    1. (often functioning as singular) a place where a number of people are employed, such as a factory
    2. the sum total of a writer's or artist's achievements, esp when considered together: the works of Shakespeare
    3. the deeds of a person, esp virtuous or moral deeds performed as religious acts: works of charity
    4. the interior parts of the mechanism of a machine, etc: the works of a clock
    5. in the worksinformal in preparation
    6. the worksslang full or extreme treatment
    7. a very violent physical beating: to give someone the works

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