worker

worker, workman, workingman, laborer, craftsman, handicraftsman, mechanic, artisan, hand, operative, roustabout can all mean one who earns his living by labor, especially by manual labor.
Worker, the most comprehensive and least specific of these terms, applies to someone who earns his living by work of hand or brain
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office workers

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factory workers

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Workman does not imply a specific kind of work, but in all but its extended senses it commonly implies manual labor. It may be applied to one engaged to do a specified piece of work or to help in the construction of something requiring many workers; it may also be applied to a skilled or to an unskilled worker. Usually it implies opposition to employer, or manager, or foreman
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there were 50 workmen on the job

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In extended use the term is applicable to a worker whether he works with his hands or with his mind provided he makes, constructs, invents, or creates something
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high-minded and untiring workmen, they have spared no pains to produce a poetry finer than that of any other country in our time— Lowell

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Workingman is more restricted in its range of application than workman, and is, in spite of varying legal definitions, applied commonly to a wage earner who at an hourly, daily, or weekly rate pursues a trade (as carpentry, masonry, or plumbing)
or is similarly employed in a mercantile, manufacturing, or industrial establishment as distinguished especially from an industrialist, a merchant, and a professional man.
Laborer commonly designates one whose work demands more strength and physical exertion than skill (as on a construction or excavation job)
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day laborers

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farm laborers

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Craftsman and handicraftsman basically apply to one who is a skilled workman in a craft or handicraft (see craft, handicraft under TRADE 1). Unlike the foregoing terms these two are common in general use and may apply as freely with reference to an avocation as to an employment. But the former may apply distinctively to a worker who is a competent technician or who is versed in the technique of his art, profession, or trade. It is especially used of artists, writers, playwrights, or skilled artificers
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Pope . . . one of the most consummate craftsmen who ever dealt in words— Lowes

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the good craftsman constructs his product as perfectly as he can .... He becomes an artist in so far as he treats his materials also for themselves— Alexander

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Mechanic applies specifically to a workman skilled in the repair or adjustment of machines
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an automobile mechanic

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an aviation mechanic

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Artisan is more often opposed to artist (for this sense see under ARTIST 1) than employed as a designation of a particular type of workman. When applied to workingmen as such and without thought of opposition to artist, the term comes very close to craftsman and is commonly applied to one who is skilled in a trade (as carpentry, weaving, or shoemaking) that involves learned skills and their appropriate application as well as physical labor
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we pass from the weavers of cloth to a different class of artisansMacaulay

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Hand is applied to one of a crew, a force, or a gang of workmen or sometimes to an owner's or proprietor's helper or assistant
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a deckhand

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a farmhand

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mill hands

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my son has lately lost his principal hand by death— Franklin

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Operative, a general term suggestive of modern industrial conditions, applies to a workman employed in a mill, a manufactory, or an industry utilizing machines
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the steelworks employ as many as 2000 operatives

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Roustabout usually adds to laborer distinguishing implications of muscular fitness for exceedingly heavy work, roughness, and, often, migratory habits
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longshoremen and other roustabouts

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Antonyms: idler

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • worker — work‧er [ˈwɜːkə ǁ ˈwɜːrkər] noun [countable] HUMAN RESOURCES one of the people who work for an organization or business, and are below the level of manager: • There are new health and safety regulations for factory workers. • Many office workers… …   Financial and business terms

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  • Worker — Work er, n. 1. One who, or that which, works; a laborer; a performer; as, a worker in brass. [1913 Webster] Professors of holiness, but workers of iniquity. Shak. [1913 Webster] 2. (Zo[ o]l.) One of the neuter, or sterile, individuals of the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • worker — ► NOUN 1) a person who works. 2) a person who achieves a specified thing: a miracle worker. 3) a neuter or undeveloped female bee, wasp, ant, etc., large numbers of which perform the basic work of a colony …   English terms dictionary

  • worker — [wʉr′kər] n. 1. a person, animal, or thing that works; specif., a person who is employed to do physical or mental work for wages, esp. in order to earn a living, as in a trade, industry, business, office, etc. or on a farm, ranch, etc. 2. a… …   English World dictionary

  • -worker — [wʉr′kər] combining form a person who works in a (specified) industry or place or with (specified) materials or equipment [dockworker, steelworker] * * * …   Universalium

  • worker — as a type of bee, 1747, agent noun from WORK (Cf. work) (v.) …   Etymology dictionary

  • worker — [n] person who is employed artisan, blue collar*, breadwinner, company person, craftsperson, employee, hand, help, laborer, nine to fiver*, operative, peasant, proletarian, serf, slave, stiff, toiler, trader, tradesperson, wage earner, white… …   New thesaurus

  • -worker — [wʉr′kər] combining form a person who works in a (specified) industry or place or with (specified) materials or equipment [dockworker, steelworker] …   English World dictionary

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