verb

[NO OBJECT]
  • 1Be engaged in physical or mental activity in order to achieve a result; do work.

    ‘an engineer who was working on a design for a more efficient wing’
    ‘new contracts forcing employees to work longer hours’
    • ‘Although women worked longer hours than men, their contribution to family activities was less appreciated.’
    • ‘One of the great highlights of working on the show has been working with Henry Winkler.’
    • ‘Was working on it very different from working with the whole band?’
    • ‘Chudleigh added that principals were working longer hours under tremendous pressure.’
    • ‘To do so is grossly unfair to the students who work so hard to achieve those results.’
    • ‘Despite my physical and mental exhaustion, the three of us worked well together and we had a good time.’
    • ‘We are now working on a one delivery a day basis, with mail being extremely busy and personnel working under immense pressure.’
    • ‘How was it like to come from working on your own to working with three other people on a project that was already established?’
    • ‘Some of this is the result of efforts by the town council and some is the result of the council working with others to achieve them.’
    • ‘My dad works during the day, but when he's home he's usually working on his car or playing ball with my brothers.’
    • ‘The work ethic culture has resulted in men working longer hours than in any other European country.’
    • ‘He worked and enjoyed different things than going out and working on the tennis.’
    • ‘This is the least amount of money that an employer may pay an employee per hour worked.’
    • ‘I would like to offer my congratulations to all those pupils and staff who have worked hard towards achieving this great set of results.’
    • ‘The employees were given notes revealing how many hours they had worked at Jordan's.’
    • ‘She worked hard all her life, rearing her family and working on the farm.’
    • ‘California says overtime starts any day an hourly employee works over eight hours in a day.’
    • ‘He wasn't working on the case, but was familiar with the gang Aaron worked for.’
    • ‘We have been working on it but maybe we are working with players who are slow to pick up on it.’
    • ‘He claimed that if a certain large deal he was working on came off, he would never have to work again.’
    toil, labour, exert oneself, plod away
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Be employed in a specified occupation or field.
      ‘he worked as a waiter in a rather shabby restaurant’
      • ‘He worked for much of the time as an engineer, working on the fortifications of various cities.’
      • ‘In Blagoevgrad, Smith worked as a small business development volunteer.’
      • ‘Geoff also worked as the occupational medical officer at the then Phillips television factory in Dunfermline.’
      • ‘Before that, he had worked as a volunteer in youth clubs, while employed as a printing and advertising manager.’
      • ‘He worked as a bookkeeper at various other businesses in Steinbach until his retirement at age 70.’
      • ‘Frank worked in the Paper Mills and Waterford Crystal for a number of years and for the last few years he worked as a taxi driver.’
      • ‘Tralee native June Hewitt has worked as a professional artist from her home studio for a number of years.’
      • ‘For years Paul had worked in the hospitality business working mainly in bars that had loud music.’
      • ‘He worked as a ranger employed by the council at the Flitch Way Country Park, which runs from Bishop's Stortford to Braintree.’
      • ‘He had previously worked as a business and town planner for Boots in Nottingham, where he still lives.’
      • ‘I worked as a cardex clerk for one company and was employed at a car hire company.’
      • ‘She worked as a secretary and had no occupational exposure to toxic fumes.’
      • ‘Mr Woodall now plans to work as a heavy goods vehicle driver, and has abandoned the idea of ever working on a ship again.’
      • ‘I've never ever worked in an office before, I've only ever worked as a waitress.’
      • ‘Ann worked as a field sales co-ordinator, organising a sales force operating throughout the country.’
      • ‘He has worked as a professional actor and singer in the West End but increasingly he is drawn to directing.’
      • ‘Before becoming an MSP, Martin worked as a researcher and was employed to take minutes of the party's cabinet meetings.’
      • ‘Many worked as farmers in fields owned by the lords and their lives were controlled by the farming year.’
      • ‘She also worked as a careers consultant at Shenfield High for 16 years.’
      • ‘He took courses in the field, then worked as a nightclub bouncer and a bodyguard.’
    2. 1.2[with object]Set to or keep at work.
      ‘Jane is working you too hard’
      • ‘Stefano works Claudio hard, but provides digs in his house and introduces him to the world of drag racing.’
      • ‘Honestly, he worked us hard, but after the session I actually had so much energy I felt like doing another hour!’
      • ‘The fitness coaches worked us hard in pre-season, and they are still working us hard.’
      • ‘We have got a great goalkeeping coach called Seamus McDonagh who works you hard and is very encouraging.’
      • ‘Hopefully, we know him now and we know we can work him harder and that he is able for it.’
      • ‘It only took four days to fit it all together but she worked me hard.’
      • ‘Kat thinks that Chrissie's working her too hard, and persuades her to give Little Mo the time off.’
      • ‘The rich, throat-catching smell of hard worked packhorses hit me even as I drew in a sharp gasp of amazement.’
      • ‘The smallest petrol version proved a willing performer and very refined, even when being worked hard.’
      • ‘His wife, who is a very smart and capable campaigner in her own right, has also worked the press very hard.’
      • ‘Duck legs have fairly tough meat - the legs are worked hard during their lifespan, making the flesh taut and muscly.’
      • ‘They worked me so hard I can't remember my 20s, apart from the fact I broke out in rashes.’
      • ‘He works you really hard and demands that things are done right.’
      • ‘He works Miles hard and does all the thinking for Angus, who, right from the beginning, is seen to be a few straws short of a bale.’
      • ‘He was demanding as a director, but I wouldn't agree that he worked you too hard.’
      • ‘Claudio Bozzini, the club's goalkeeping coach, works his three charges hard.’
      • ‘Bruce works his pupils hard, but there is a great atmosphere in his gym, and between yelling at us to try harder, he finds plenty of time to talk smack to everyone.’
      • ‘Yes, we worked you too hard in the last case, Mr Besanko, we would like to hear first from the respondent.’
    3. 1.3[with object]Practise one's occupation in or at (a particular place)
      ‘I worked a few clubs and so forth’
      • ‘Once a farm was farmed by many men/women and their families, but nowadays farms are often worked by one person.’
      • ‘Beats the hell out of stripping or working the streets like some whore doesn't it?’
      • ‘By 1841 the old Carleton Hall estate was worked by three farmers, possibly tenants of Lane Fox estates.’
      • ‘Lynda has now come off the drugs and the drink - and she has turned her back on working the streets.’
      • ‘His father owned and worked a small farm of some fifty acres in County Derry in Northern Ireland.’
      • ‘She spent half of her life working the streets of the major cities of Saskatchewan.’
      • ‘One of six children, his father worked a small farm and laboured for the county council to make ends meet.’
      • ‘You're working the streets, you go home at night, you take a hit and fall asleep in your clothes.’
      • ‘Nobody that has ever worked the killing room will ever tell you that you will catch every one, no matter how hard you try.’
      • ‘The Moore Valley farmer said he has six sons and one daughter, but Pat the eldest son works the farm with him.’
      • ‘He worked the farm with one of his brothers and combined it with rugby, but when his brother wanted to set up his own business Logan bought him out.’
      • ‘Most of the prostitutes working the streets have a drug problem, and fund their habit by prostitution.’
      • ‘I don't believe there are any women working the streets who want to be there.’
      • ‘Men were busy working on architecture or training in the army while young ladies worked the market place.’
      • ‘If you're working an area where there is a fast tide, then you should still be able to get away with an uptide rod and say 6ozs of lead.’
      • ‘The evening takes the form of a memory play told by the elderly Kat, now a shoeshine boy working the streets, who looks back at his younger self.’
      • ‘For a nostalgic two hours, the rag and bone man was working the streets of Salford again.’
      • ‘Why was T J Hooker still working the streets when he was a Sergeant, and should have been ensconced in a cosy desk job at his age?’
      • ‘She may be a prostitute working the streets of Leith but she still has standards.’
      • ‘Donna has dreams of working the friendly skies of New York and Paris and isn't ready to give her heart to anyone just yet.’
    4. 1.4West Indian [with object]Be engaged in (a particular occupation)
      ‘I worked fireman on ships’
  • 2(of a machine or system) function, especially properly or effectively.

    ‘his phone doesn't work unless he goes to a high point’
    • ‘The best thing was that the AccuVote machine worked the way it was supposed to work.’
    • ‘We react with surprise and shock when things go wrong with our own molecular machinery, but it is far more astonishing that the machinery works at all.’
    • ‘Although it is of the same size as an old sewing machine, it still works fine.’
    • ‘So many of our institutions and systems are not working properly, including the judiciary.’
    • ‘Walhi's lawyers, however, said the early warning system had not worked properly.’
    • ‘He has literally kept some of our offices and machines working by duct tape and force of will alone.’
    • ‘It's an example of litigation which needn't have happened had the system worked properly.’
    • ‘Make sure that whomever you buy from is willing to work with you until the system is working properly.’
    • ‘We call them mistakes because the machine isn't working the way we think it should.’
    • ‘A warning device must be installed to alert you if the system stops working properly.’
    • ‘Fires were started, however, none caught as the sprinkler system worked effectively.’
    • ‘It could be necessary after a virus attack to roll back to a time when the system worked properly.’
    • ‘She was told the machines were not working and that she must come back on another day.’
    • ‘I want to make sure the court system is working properly and is going to do correct justice.’
    • ‘I think that saying this system works if properly executed is to miss the point.’
    • ‘Hans had promised him that the machine would work this time and now was the time to prove it.’
    • ‘His first machine did not work so he took it to England and with help got it working.’
    • ‘When CIS was updating its website, it organised dummy runs to ensure that its systems were working properly.’
    • ‘I'm told the in-car Global Satellite Positioning system is not working properly.’
    • ‘But even at the highest levels there is a tacit acknowledgment that the system is not working properly.’
    function, go, run, operate, perform
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1(with reference to a machine or machine part) be or cause to be in operation.
      [no object] ‘the device is designed to go into a special ‘rest’ state when it's not working’
      [with object] ‘teaching customers how to work a VCR’
      • ‘Dad worked these trains regularly and for many years they were his regular assignment.’
      • ‘As we are a school, it is insane having a lab where 4-6 machines are not working at one time.’
      • ‘The travel back was one filled with only the sound of the heater blowing and the engine working.’
      • ‘He looked back at the counter where a blonde haired girl was busy working the machines.’
      • ‘A machine working two shifts costs much less by the hour than that same machine working a single shift.’
      • ‘The machine worked all hours - if it did not break down - and it needed few people to keep it running.’
      • ‘He talked to her as the machines worked, repairing the damage that his blast had wreaked.’
      • ‘As the machine worked, Raven straightened, allowing herself a moment to rub the ache in her side.’
      • ‘Before the advent of the computer I worked a manual Comptometer machine, the keys of which had to be pounded.’
      • ‘She sees an Asian woman having difficulty working the machine and helps her to understand it.’
      • ‘Women snigger at men for being unable to work a washing machine, men snigger at women for being bad drivers.’
  • 3(of a plan or method) have the desired result or effect.

    ‘the desperate ploy had worked’
    • ‘We had a great time stalking redfish in two feet of water with fly or spinning rod, both methods worked for us.’
    • ‘On Wednesday Beau was freaking out about the plan not working, so I was actually a bit concerned.’
    • ‘This method works if the water reservoir in the top 5 feet of soil is at or near field capacity at planting time.’
    • ‘Jacquelyn stood in awe that her plan actually worked and as a result she could barely move.’
    • ‘It's annoying me more than anyone that my plan isn't working, believe me.’
    • ‘If you can't decide which method works best for you, experiment with one each day.’
    • ‘It is a propaganda unit designed to sell the message that this Government's strategic plan is working.’
    • ‘If the CCTV pilot plan works, the scheme, already hugely successful on local buses, could be extended to other taxis.’
    • ‘The company was restructured five times in five years; no plan worked better than the last one.’
    • ‘Early indications are that the method is working and biologists are planning to eventually restock the area with young fish.’
    • ‘Apparantly this method works due to the way our brains store information, and how the things we remember are reinforced each time we look at them.’
    • ‘Whether Brown's plan works or not could decide who becomes the next Prime Minister.’
    • ‘This method works satisfactorily and is technically the simplest of the 3 options.’
    • ‘Fortunately, their plan worked - but not without huge barriers along the way.’
    • ‘Indeed for most of the first half the Down tactical plan had worked marvellously.’
    • ‘I assume the method works better if it is used after serious sleep deprivation.’
    • ‘Jack's plan is working - to prove she's useless and then she won't be a threat.’
    • ‘In both cases the game plan worked, and McClaren admitted that the result was a huge relief.’
    • ‘Of course, this method works best when the kids hear a title they really do enjoy.’
    • ‘This method works only with insurance plans that use coinsurance, where patients pay a portion of their bills until they reach a maximum.’
    succeed, be successful, work, work out, turn out well, go as planned, have the desired result, get results, be efficacious
    succeed, be successful, work out, turn out well, go as planned, have the desired result, get results
    View synonyms
    1. 3.1[with object]Produce as a result.
      ‘with a dash of blusher here and there, you can work miracles’
      • ‘Sometimes a word of truth works the miracle, but, at times, years of preaching will do nothing.’
      • ‘The miracle has been wrought by recognising health as a human right - and therefore the responsibility of the state - and acting accordingly.’
      • ‘However, having protested defeat by the venison, Vix worked her usual miracle and found room for a pudding.’
      • ‘If you could work that kind of miracle, you could go into medicine and make a mint.’
      • ‘And now, when my son Jamie is almost the same age, I realize my father worked a miracle!’
      • ‘England do not have anyone to come in and work miracles and it would be foolish to pick a new team and hope for the best.’
      • ‘It can't be stated enough how everyone should thank them both - they have worked a miracle.’
      • ‘What is certain is that if Barwick could work that miracle, merely knighting him would be an insult.’
      • ‘A balanced diet together with a gentle daily or weekly exercise regime can work miracles.’
      • ‘Anyway, lame puns aside, the cast of Hollyoaks have worked a miracle.’
      • ‘And God wrought special miracles by the hand of Paul’
      • ‘If ever a country provided its team with all the motivation they needed to work miracles, then this is surely it.’
      • ‘He was pretending, she should have known that getting his attention was like working a miracle.’
      • ‘Check out these before and after photos to see how cheaply and easily miracles can be worked.’
      • ‘For Hugh, a 22-year-old IT worker, has wrought a minor miracle.’
      • ‘Not that they didn't work the odd miracle at the odd club, but for years the glories they traded on were well past.’
      • ‘Miracles will be wrought, the sick will be healed and signs and wonders will follow the believers.’
      • ‘The ground staff worked miracles at Collegiate to make the pitch playable, albeit for a game reduced to 36 overs.’
      • ‘We were convinced she was going to die, but fortunately the doctors worked a miracle.’
      • ‘I have often lived through that hour, that day, that week, in which was wrought the miracle of my transition from one world into another; for I did indeed pass into another world.’
    2. 3.2Make efforts to achieve something; campaign.
      ‘an organization working for a better life for people with mental illness’
      • ‘He was in the forefront for a number of these issues, working for the poor and the needy and homeless.’
      • ‘But just because they are in Canada does not mean they have stopped working for the Burmese people.’
      • ‘By adding borrowed money to your own funds you can increase the total amount of money working for you.’
      • ‘The deans and chancellors of these institutions are committed to working for change.’
      • ‘Legendre, an unemployed father of three, occupies all his free time working for the revolution.’
      • ‘That we are truly working for the common good - a good which really delivers the well-being and the flourishing of us all.’
      • ‘Both local authorities say they are committed to working for better transport links and these efforts must continue.’
      • ‘Others, who have been working for long-term solutions, don't have much to cheer about.’
    3. 3.3informal [with object]Arrange or contrive.
      ‘the chairman was prepared to work it for Phillip if he was interested’
      • ‘Sadly it wouldn't be human if someone hadn't managed to work an angle on how to turn what happened to the city yesterday to their advantage.’
      • ‘His editor, Clive Barnaby, wanted someone on the job who was prepared to work the local angles.’
      • ‘That inactivity puts a greater premium on working a deal with unrestricted free agent James Dexter, its projected starter at left guard.’
    4. 3.4Exert influence or persuasion on.
      ‘she worked upon the sympathy of her associates’
      • ‘Even now we are working on Mr Flintoff being a guest upon his return from Down Under.’
      • ‘At this late stage, the elites found themselves forced to work upon the increasingly dysfunctional myths.’
      • ‘In that moment, I became absurdly sure that a supernatural force was working upon me, pushing and pulling me toward an unknown fate, a road at whose end stood the slight, cold figure currently bargaining with my father.’
      • ‘Your class gave me the tools to understand the forces at work upon my conscience and to make a reasoned decision.’
      • ‘Some occult influence was at work upon me throughout those dark hours, I am positively certain.’
    5. 3.5[with object]Use one's persuasive power to stir the emotions of.
      ‘the born politician's art of working a crowd’
      • ‘Not only did he play a good match, at just 18 years of age he was working the crowd like a pro!’
      • ‘Big ups also go to Leon Wadham and his beautiful cardie, who worked the crowd like a seasoned professional.’
      • ‘Justin is a fantastic front man who definitely knows how to work a crowd.’
      • ‘He hopped about energetically, did the trademark Edwin moves, played congas and really worked the crowd.’
      • ‘He is brilliant when he works the crowd with his radio mike.’
      • ‘The man knows how to work the crowd, but the smiley banter between songs keeps it from looking too cynical.’
      • ‘The Beastie Boys worked the crowd into a frenzy when they ran off to a smaller stage at the venue's opposite end.’
      • ‘Clad in gladrags and working the crowds Al Gore made a democratic appearance.’
      • ‘Another person who could be seen working the crowd was director Jayaraj.’
      • ‘It lasted around five hours, with a number of musicians and speakers working a crowd, made up of all ethnic backgrounds.’
      • ‘He's working the crowd, but it's more like he wants to than he has to.’
      • ‘Still, one had to marvel again at the man's enthusiasm for working a crowd, even someone else's.’
      • ‘Christine Caughey and Richard Simpson turned up to have a peek at our meeting and our working the crowd.’
      • ‘He worked the crowd brilliantly, and was to keep everyone laughing through what proved a long night.’
      • ‘His concerns were for war and peace, grand speeches, red carpets and working the crowds.’
      • ‘Our bit was well received and Gilz did an excellent job of working the crowd.’
      • ‘Just before battle commenced, some of the warriors worked the crowd to get them in the mood.’
      • ‘You don't get to have a decent career in music without knowing how to work a crowd.’
      • ‘He knows how to work a crowd, he gives a good sermon and produces a splendid pulpit sweat.’
      • ‘In between speakers, the chairman, introduced only as Jack, works the crowd like an old hand.’
  • 4[with object and adverbial or complement] Bring (a material or mixture) to a desired shape or consistency by hammering, kneading, etc.

    ‘work the mixture into a paste with your hands’
    • ‘Preferably, soil should be worked up at least four to six weeks before roses are planted in a new bed.’
    • ‘Then the mixture is worked, gently at first, and then more vigorously.’
    • ‘Next add the ginger, turmeric and oil and work the ingredients into a thick brown paste.’
    • ‘For most of the United States, plant strawberries in spring as soon as the soil can be worked.’
    • ‘The efficient cause of a baked clay vase is the artist who works the clay and then bakes it.’
    • ‘He works the metal into small chunks before swallowing it, his stomach acids fizz at it, then it blasts out at high speed the other end.’
    • ‘The hammer is for hammering in the nails that lie next to it, for working the leather into shoes, and so on.’
    • ‘By working the metal, as by cold rolling, its strength can be approximately doubled.’
    • ‘Sift the flour with the baking powder into the bowl and work the mixture with your hand until it forms a firm dough.’
    • ‘Using your fingers, draw in the flour and work the mixture into a dough, adding more water if necessary.’
    • ‘It is important to work the dough until it is nice and shiny, as this gives it the al dente texture.’
    • ‘The early medieval carpenter was not only skilled in working the wood, but also in selecting the correct timber and shape for the job.’
    • ‘That's the reason for the standard caution against working the soil too early in the year.’
    • ‘Prepare a site for wildflowers by working the soil using a spade, rototiller or plow.’
    • ‘The kneading can be quite tiring but you need to work the dough if the bread is going to be good.’
    • ‘Rub the butter into the flour mixture, working until you have no lumps bigger than a pea.’
    • ‘Here it is not advisable to work the soil too well for this promotes weed growth.’
    • ‘Leather is worked into luxurious softness and seams are reduced to a bare minimum.’
    • ‘The bare receiver forging is impressive, especially to anyone who works metal for a living.’
    • ‘Dip your fingers into it before working the rice and it'll all be a lot simpler.’
    knead, squeeze, form, shape, fashion, mould, model
    View synonyms
    1. 4.1[no object]Produce artistic pieces using (a particular material or medium)
      ‘he works in clay over a very strong frame’
      • ‘The limner was never solely a miniaturist, but worked in other formats and media too.’
      • ‘As well as using clear, sandblasted glass, Kelly works in cheery yellow and orange.’
      • ‘Dr. Bob works in cypress, training trees over many years to grow in specific shapes.’
    2. 4.2[with object]Produce (an article or design) using a specified material or sewing stitch.
      ‘the castle itself is worked in tent stitch’
      • ‘Beautifully worked stitches feature in many examples of white work in children's dresses and gowns.’
      • ‘I then worked a satin type stitch down each side, with a different design down the middle.’
      • ‘The pole screens had very finely worked needlework panels, often executed during their hours of leisure by the ladies of the house.’
      • ‘I'm working these on 72 stitches, using some Regia Shadow that was in my stash.’
      • ‘I'm sure you could work some neat designs into the building front using the colour differences.’
      • ‘A large allegorical needlework picture wrought by Agnes Park hangs above the mantel.’
    3. 4.3[with object]Cultivate (land) or extract materials from (a mine or quarry)
      ‘contracts and leases to work the mines’
      • ‘The row of cottages below and behind you, is known as Irish Row, named after some of the men who worked the mines.’
      • ‘All mining is done on a small scale, with just a few people working each mine.’
      • ‘They were farming people who worked the land and tended to the livestock.’
      • ‘He shows us the new checkpoints and yellow gates that let farmers work the land on either side of the divide.’
      • ‘Mines were being worked by strange creatures and humanoid statues with pickaxes for hands.’
      • ‘One of the local farmers working their land on the steep banks of the lake, perhaps?’
      • ‘The pastoralist class disperse the great mass of peasants who traditionally worked the land under the thumb of feudal landlords.’
      • ‘Wanlockhead was, like the neighbouring village of Leadhills, built as a mining town, housing the men who worked the lead mines.’
      • ‘In time of war, the other farmers would work his land, which was granted by the state.’
      • ‘The mine has been worked for its red, green and white salt for over 700 years and it is still operational.’
      • ‘Serfs worked the land and produced the goods that the lord and his manor needed.’
      • ‘It's a common assumption that most homes had a slave or two, while most farms and quarries were almost exclusively worked by slave labor.’
      • ‘Mr Spargo took shares in a company formed for working a mine which he sold to the company.’
      • ‘The ones who were still working the mines by choice were paid at the end of the week, I found out.’
      • ‘The legend has it that Peralta worked the mine with a high return for several years.’
      • ‘It is the rent that kings took for allowing the serfs and others to work the land that the kings owned.’
      • ‘Over the next 40 years, many companies worked mines along the difficult Mokau River.’
      • ‘Gilberth explains how his practices have changed even in the few years he's worked this land.’
      • ‘This may well have been the case but the company only worked the mine for a short time during which several thousand tons of ore were treated.’
      • ‘For the most part, the goblins worked the mines, humans were only sent there for punishment.’
  • 5Move or cause to move gradually or with difficulty into another position.

    [with object and adverbial or complement] ‘comb hair from tip to root, working out the knots at the end’
    [no object, with adverbial or complement] ‘look for small parts that might work loose’
    • ‘No matter how tightly I tie the things they work loose after about twenty steps.’
    • ‘He sewed me up again and told me if they worked loose again, that I shouldn't be concerned, because I was healing very quickly.’
    • ‘Several of my toes commenced to blacken and fester near the tips and the nails worked loose.’
    • ‘Our advice is to secure it very firmly, be conservative with your speed and make frequent stops to ensure it isn't working loose.’
    manoeuvre, make, thread, wind, weave
    manoeuvre, manipulate, negotiate, guide, edge
    View synonyms
    1. 5.1[no object](of a person's features) move violently or convulsively.
      ‘hair wild, mouth working furiously’
      • ‘The muscles in his jaw were working furiously as he clenched and unclenched his fingers.’
      • ‘Her mouth worked furiously trying to come up some excuse for her outburst.’
      • ‘Rena was gaping like a fish, her mouth working furiously but she didn't emit a single word.’
      • ‘Her other hand is at the back of my head now, her jaw working as if my mouth is a pulpy piece of fruit she's eating.’
      • ‘His watery eyes blink at me and his mouth works without speech.’
      • ‘Her mouth was working silently, trying to form words but unable to receive any from her brain.’
      • ‘Mike was glaring at Richard, his eyes dark, a muscle in his cheek working furiously.’
      • ‘Tothas stared at him, mouth working with fear for his mistress, then nodded sharply.’
      • ‘Sekher lay sprawled upon his back, twitching spasmodically, mouth working silently.’
      • ‘She gapes at us and her mouth works but no sound issues forth.’
    2. 5.2Sailing
      [no object, with adverbial]Make progress to windward, with repeated tacking.
      ‘trying to work to windward in light airs’
      • ‘A weatherly ship is one that works well to windward, making but little leeway.’
  • 6[with object] Bring into a specified emotional state.

    ‘Harold had worked himself into a minor rage’
    • ‘Everybody's working themselves into a lather over one mad cow, and it's bloody ridiculous.’
    • ‘Without rubbing his nose in the emotional frenzy he works himself into, try talking calmly to your boyfriend and take a stab at joint problem solving.’
    • ‘Kenneth inwardly winced, but she said nothing, just fluttered about, working herself into a proper fury until Jeremy left.’
    • ‘Finally I had worked myself into a state of hysterics so much so that I could not breathe.’
    • ‘I agree with Mr. Jenkins, I think you can work yourself into a state of real paranoia here if you're not careful.’
    excite, drive, move, spur, rouse, fire, galvanize
    View synonyms

Pronunciation:

work

/wəːk/