Meaning of “assignment” in the English Dictionary

"assignment" in British English

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uk /əˈsaɪn.mənt/ us /əˈsaɪn.mənt/

B1 [ C ] a piece of work given to someone, typically as part of their studies or job:

a freelance/photo assignment
I have a lot of reading assignments to complete before the end of term.

[ C ] a job that someone is sent somewhere to do:

a foreign/diplomatic assignment
on assignment

Someone who is on assignment is doing a particular job or piece of work, usually in a particular place where they have been sent for a period of time:

Both journalists were killed by terrorists while on assignment in the region.

[ U ] the process of giving a particular job or piece of work to someone, or of sending someone to a chosen place to do a job:

assignment of the various tasks

More examples

  • It was a jammy assignment - more of a holiday really.
  • He took this award-winning photograph while on assignment in the Middle East.
  • His two-year assignment to the Mexico office starts in September.
  • She first visited Norway on assignment for the winter Olympics ten years ago.
  • He fell in love with the area after being there on assignment for National Geographic in the 1950s.

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

"assignment" in American English

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assignmentnoun [ C/U ]

us /əˈsɑɪn·mənt/

a particular job or responsibility given to you:

[ C ] The homework assignment was to read Chapter 2 in our history book.


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

"assignment" in Business English

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uk /əˈsaɪnmənt/ us

[ C ] a task or a piece of work that is given to someone to do, often for a limited period of time:

a six-month assignment
Solving the industry's infrastructure problems while satisfying shareholders is going to be a tough assignment.
give sb an assignment Our team was given an assignment to find the gaps in the market.
accept/refuse/take on an assignment
carry out/complete/finish an assignment
global/international/overseas, etc. assignment One of his first overseas assignments was as a junior in a delegation to Moscow.
Assessment for the course will be based on four written assignments and a final examination.

[ U ] the process of giving someone a particular job, task, or responsibility:

[ C or U ] LAW the act of giving something that belongs to you, such as a property or a financial agreement, to somebody else:

The Agreement will terminate automatically in the event of its assignment.
The assignment of a legal lease must be in the form of a deed to be effective.
on assignment

someone who is on assignment is doing a job in a particular place, usually for an agreed amount of time:

The photographer died while on assignment in the war zone.

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