Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

work - definition and synonyms


What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

noun work pronunciation in British English /wɜː(r)k/
Word Forms
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  1. 1
    [uncountable] activity that involves physical or mental effort

    I know you’ve got a lot of work to do.

    Thank you for all your hard work.

  2. 2
    [uncountable] a job that someone is paid to do

    I started work when I was sixteen.

    It’s not easy to find work (=get a job).

    1. a.
      the things that you do as part of your job

      Her work will include planting trees and caring for animals.

      Employees may take work home if they wish.

    2. b.
      the time that someone spends doing their job

      We rehearse for a few hours every day after work.

  3. 3
    [uncountable] a place where someone goes to do their job

    I walk to work and take the bus home.

  4. 4
    [uncountable] something that someone makes or does in their job

    Carol and her subcommittee did some nice work on the document.

    piece of work:

    It’s not the best piece of work you’ve ever done.

    1. a.
      [countable/uncountable] something produced by a writer, painter, musician, or other artist

      Our final-year students invite you to an exhibition of their work.

      work of:

      This is a minor but moving work of literature.

      a study of the life and works of Baudelaire

  5. 5
    [uncountable plural] the repairing and building of something. You can also talk about works, and this has the same meaning

    The road has been closed for emergency repair works.

    There will be no disruption of traffic when the work is carried out.

  6. 6
    [uncountable] physics the process of changing energy from one form into another, usually in order to make something move or operate
  7. 7
    [uncountable] cosmetic surgery

    I think she’s had some work done.



used to describe something which is done more carefully and over a longer period of time …

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


the practice of giving birth in the presence of several friends and relatives

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play