Meaning of “working” in the English Dictionary

"working" in English

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workingadjective [ before noun ]

uk /ˈwɜː.kɪŋ/ us /ˈwɝː.kɪŋ/

working adjective [ before noun ] (MACHINE)


It has taken about five years to restore the aircraft to (full) working condition/order.

The working parts of a machine are those that move and make it work:

It is essential that all working components are well lubricated.

More examples

working adjective [ before noun ] (USEFUL)

B2 used to refer to a plan, idea, or knowledge that is not complete but is good enough to be useful:

We have a working theory/hypothesis about what caused the crash, which we will test.
She's fluent in French and English and has a working knowledge of Spanish.

(Definition of “working” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"working" in American English

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workingadjective [ not gradable ]

us /ˈwɜr·kɪŋ/

working adjective [ not gradable ] (DOING A JOB)

relating to your job and its surroundings:

Employees are unhappy with working conditions.

A working person is employed:

working mothers

working adjective [ not gradable ] (PERFORMING AS INTENDED)

performing as intended and doing what it is supposed to do:

The mechanic finally got the car back in working order.

If you have a working knowledge of something, you have enough practical experience to be able to use it or do it:

a working knowledge of English

(Definition of “working” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"working" in Business English

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workingadjective [ before noun ]

uk /ˈwɜːkɪŋ/ us

used to describe people who work and earn money:

Too many working people are piling up debt on high-interest credit cards.
When employers ignore health and safety regulations, working men and women are needlessly put at risk.
Child care costs can be a significant burden for a working couple with children.
working couples/families/mothers

used to describe someone who does a job that usually is not very well paid and usually does not need a very high level of education:

a working man/woman
In our celebrity-obsessed culture, the values of the ordinary working man are being ignored.

relating to someone's job, or to work in general:

Older people encounter much prejudice about their ability to adapt to new working methods.
My manager and I have developed a close working relationship.
a working environment/culture

used to describe a plan, idea, or knowledge that is not complete but that is satisfactory for now:

The working title of her book is "Attracting Wealth".
Applicants will need a working knowledge of French and Spanish.
a working assumption/hypothesis/definition

used to describe a machine or the parts of a machine that move and operate it:

After three failed prototypes, we finally have a working model.

MEETINGS used to describe a meal at which you also work or discuss business:

a working breakfast/lunch/dinner
Over a working lunch the HR team and a local architect studied office refurbishment plans.
be in (good) working order

a machine or piece of equipment that is in good working order works safely and effectively:

All our vehicles are in good and efficient working order.

See also


uk /ˈwɜːkɪŋ/ us

[ U ] the activity of doing work:

Our method of working involves one-to-one feedback.

[ plural ] the way in which a machine or system works, and the parts and processes involved:

You will need to develop a strong understanding of the internal workings of the organization.

(Definition of “working” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)