Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “work”


verb [I or T] (OPERATE)    /wɜːk/ US  /wɝːk/
A2 If a machine or device works, it operates, especially correctly and without failure, and if you work it, you make it operate: Our phone isn't working. You need a team of about twelve people to work a furnace this size. The pump works off/on (= uses) wind power. The pump is worked by (= uses to operate) wind power. I can't get the radio to work.FunctioningPerforming a functionPerforming a functionFunctioning
(Definition of work verb (OPERATE) from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
Focus on the pronunciation of work

Definitions of “work” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day


the quality of knowing someone very well, liking them a lot, and wanting to spend a lot of time together

Word of the Day


Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More