work


work
work n
1 Work, labor, travail, toil, drudgery, grind are comparable when they mean effort or exertion directed to the accomplishment of an end, or an employment or activity which involves such expenditure of effort or exertion.
Work is the most comprehensive of these terms, for it may imply activity of body, mind, or machine or, in its largest sense, of a natural force. It is applicable not only to the exertion and to the employment which involves such exertion
{

six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work — Exod 20:9

}
but also to what is accomplished or produced by such exertion
{

this statue is the work of a gifted but unknown sculptor

}
{

you have done a day's work in three hours

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and to the material upon which one is employed
{

put your work away

}
Labor differs from work not so much in its specific denotations as in its implications; as a rule it implies human work and therefore suggests physical or intellectual exertion only, but it may suggest work of strenuous, onerous, or fatiguing kind
{

labor is doing what we must; leisure is doing what we like— Shaw

}
{

the larger part of the labor of an author in composing his work is critical labor; the labor of sifting, combining, constructing, expunging, correcting, testing— T. S. Eliot

}
{

Sir William Meredith, anticipating the labors of Romilly, protested against the barbarity and the inefficacy of a criminal code—G. O. Trevelyan

}
Travail carries a stronger implication of painful effort or exertion than does labor; that connotation is often so strong that the term tends to denote suffering rather than labor
{

the sentimentalist escapes the stern travail of thought— Lowes

}
{

it breaks his heart . . . that all his hours of travail here for men seem yet in vain— Lindsay

}
Toil suggests labor that is prolonged and highly fatiguing but not necessarily physical
{

for years he led a life of unremitting physical toilBuchan

}
Drudgery implies dull, irksome, and distasteful labor
{

thereafter, through ... all the days she served in the store, the job was nothing but exasperating drudgeryWouk

}
{

labor of the hands . . . pursued to the verge of drudgeryThoreau

}
Grind applies to labor that one finds toilsome and trying or exhausting to mind or body
{

the long grind of teaching the promiscuous and preoccupied young— Henry James

}
Analogous words: exertion, *effort, pains, trouble: *task, duty, job, chore
Antonyms: play
2 Work, employment, occupation, calling, pursuit, business can all denote the specific kind of labor or activity in which a person engages seriously especially as a means of earning a livelihood.
Work is the most general of these terms; it applies to any kind of labor, whether physical or intellectual, whether carried on by the hour, day, week, month, or longer period, and whether done for pay or not and, if the former, whether compensated for by an employer or out of fees for services or the profits of a business
{

be out of work

}
{

his work is that of a railroad engineer

}
{

he is at work on his book

}
Employment implies work for which one has been engaged and is being paid by an employer
{

he is unable to find employment

}
{

his employment is that of a bookbinder

}
{

1... went from town to town, working when I could get employmentGoldsmith

}
Occupation, though often used interchangeably with employment, can be more inclusive, for it does not necessarily connote service under an employer and may be referred to the work of a kind in which one engages habitually or for which one has been trained; thus, one seeks employment but follows a particular occupation
{

unable to find employment in his old occupation, he turned to common labor

}
{

he is by occupation a teacher

}
{

these are the chief questions which a man would ask ... whom circumstances allowed to choose his occupationInge

}
Calling is sometimes used in place of occupation but is typically used of occupations which can be described as vocations or professions and to which one is likely to have been called by one's nature or special tastes
{

his calling is that of a preacher

}
{

the learned callings

}
{

Miss Jekyll had received that luckiest of fairy gifts, a calling . . . something that she loved to do— L. P. Smith

}
Pursuit, too, may be used in place of occupation but more specifically in the sense of a trade, craft, profession, business, or art that is followed often as a means of earning one's living
{

they never have to learn to adjust themselves to people whose tastes and pursuits are different from their own— Russell

}
{

though it was supposed to be proper for them to have an occupation, the crude fact of moneymaking was still regarded as derogatory, and the law, being a profession, was accounted a more gentlemanly pursuit than business— Wharton

}
Business is often used in the sense of work or sometimes of occupation
{

the business of keeping a lunatic asylum— Denman

}
{

I hated, and still hate, the awful business of research— Bennett

}
Analogous words: *trade, craft, handicraft, art, profession
3 Work, product, production, opus, artifact can all denote a concrete thing that is made or brought into being by the exertion of effort and the exercise of skill.
Work is applied to what comes under this general definition (as something that is manufactured or that is constructed or built) only when used without reference to a particular thing
{

the work reveals the workman

}
or when used with a possessive
{

the cabinetmaker is proud of his work

}
{

every church that is known as Christopher Wren's work

}
or in certain combinations
{

fireworks

}
{

waxworks

}
Otherwise it is applied to a thing that results from mental labor, especially one involving composition and artistry in execution and specifically called a work of art
{

the works of Keats include his poems and usually his prefaces

}
{

the works of Beethoven are all his musical compositions

}
{

The Thinker is one of Rodin's works

}
{

the new history of literature promises to be a monumental work

}
Product (see also PRODUCT 2) is applied chiefly to articles of manufacture whether they are made by hand or with the aid of machinery
{

the factory seeks a market for its products

}
{

she was unwilling to part with the embroideries and laces that were the products of her handiwork

}
{

synthetic materials impart their special properties to perfumes and flavors and when properly used, increase rather than diminish the value of the productMorrison

}
When product rather than work is used of a poem, novel, statue, or painting, it is often either depreciative in its connotations or definitely noncommittal
{

this dull product of a scoffer's pen— Wordsworth

}
{

shall a literary product reveal the spirit of its age and be silent as to the spirit of its author— Matheson

}
Production is sometimes used where work would be the commoner and more idiomatic term, but it has a formal or slightly bombastic effect except when qualified by a superlative
{

the noblest productions of literary genius

}
{

the finest productions of Michelangelo

}
{

so one [Pygmalion] whose story serves at least to show men loved their own productions long ago, wooed an unfeeling statue [Galatea] for his wife— Cowper

}
The term also is specifically applied to a theatrical or similar performance viewed as the work of a producer or director who is responsible for all the details
{

the recent Shakespearian productions

}
Opus is applied chiefly to a musical composition or group of compositions and in this use it is commonly followed by a number designating the order of publication or, sometimes, execution
{

Beethoven's opus 21

}
The term also has some specific application (as to work in mosaic or embroidery) and is used in light criticism of a work of art or literature often with a suggestion of facetious pomposity
{

British books on statistics are ever so much sprightlier and clearer than American opera on the subject— Forbes

}
{

an instance of misplaced creativity, perhaps the first but not the last in Wright's prodigious opusMumford

}
Artifact basically denotes an artificial as distinguished from a natural product; it usually implies human workmanship, largely as a general designation for primitive weapons and implements as well as works of art
{

flints, arrowheads, and other artifacts of stone

}
Analogous words: article, object, *thing: accomplishment, achievement, performance (see corresponding verbs at PERFORM)
work vb operate, function, *act, behave, react

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Work — (w[^u]rk), n. [OE. work, werk, weorc, AS. weorc, worc; akin to OFries. werk, wirk, OS., D., & G. werk, OHG. werc, werah, Icel. & Sw. verk, Dan. v[ae]rk, Goth. gawa[ u]rki, Gr. e rgon, [digamma]e rgon, work, re zein to do, o rganon an instrument,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Work — may refer to: Human labor: Employment House work Labor (economics), measure of the work done by human beings Manual labor, physical work done by people Wage labor, in which a worker sells their labor and an employer buys it Work (project… …   Wikipedia

  • Work — (w[^u]rk), v. t. 1. To labor or operate upon; to give exertion and effort to; to prepare for use, or to utilize, by labor. [1913 Webster] He could have told them of two or three gold mines, and a silver mine, and given the reason why they forbare …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Work — (w[^u]rk), v. i. [imp. & p. p. {Worked} (w[^u]rkt), or {Wrought} (r[add]t); p. pr. & vb. n. {Working}.] [AS. wyrcean (imp. worthe, wrohte, p. p. geworht, gewroht); akin to OFries. werka, wirka, OS. wirkian, D. werken, G. wirken, Icel. verka,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Work — Título Charlot, empapelador o Carlitos empapelador o Charlot trabaja Ficha técnica Dirección Charles Chaplin …   Wikipedia Español

  • Work It — can refer to: *Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger, a 2001 song by French duo Daft Punk *Work It (Missy Elliott song), a 2002 song by American hip hop artist Missy Elliott *Work It (Nelly song), a 2003 song by American hip hop artist Nelly *Work It… …   Wikipedia

  • Work — bezeichnet: Hubert Work (1860 1942), US amerikanischer Politiker Work (Lied), ein Lied von Kelly Rowland Diese Seite ist eine Begriffsklärung zur Unterscheidung mehrerer mit demselben Wort bezeichneter Begriffe …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Work to Do — is a 1972 funk song by The Isley Brothers, released on their T Neck imprint. The song, written and produced by the group, was issued on their 1972 album, Brother, Brother, Brother , and charted at #51 pop and #11 R B upon its initial charting.… …   Wikipedia

  • Work — Work, Edelleute bei den Tscherkessen …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • work — /werrk/, n., adj., v., worked or (Archaic except for 35, 37, 40) wrought; working. n. 1. exertion or effort directed to produce or accomplish something; labor; toil. 2. something on which exertion or labor is expended; a task or undertaking: The… …   Universalium

  • work — I. noun Etymology: Middle English werk, work, from Old English werc, weorc; akin to Old High German werc work, Greek ergon, Avestan varəzem activity Date: before 12th century 1. activity in which one exerts strength or faculties to do or perform… …   New Collegiate Dictionary


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