Definition of career in US English:



  • 1An occupation undertaken for a significant period of a person's life and with opportunities for progress.

    • ‘She knew she would be retiring shortly from the Royal Ballet and welcomed the opportunity to diversify her career.’
    • ‘It kind of solidifies the buzz around your career and makes more opportunities open to you.’
    • ‘Teaching is recognized as a career with unique opportunities and satisfying experiences.’
    • ‘After 11 years of internal medicine and cardiology, he opted for a career in occupational medicine.’
    • ‘There are some careers where a significant surname is all you need - being an aristocrat, for example.’
    • ‘Visitors will be able to pick and choose from the hundreds of available careers and training opportunities.’
    • ‘Because people now tend to have multiple careers, this transition period could come at any age.’
    • ‘You should also contact your local careers office/centre for information and advice on careers and learning opportunities.’
    • ‘You decide to take on new opportunities that enhance your career.’
    • ‘So Jan seized the opportunity for a new career as a tour manager, helping groups of tourists get the most out of their holidays.’
    • ‘The son of a wig maker, Lallemand saw a military career as an opportunity for social advancement.’
    • ‘After all, most professionals choose their career; they act under their own volition.’
    • ‘In keeping with tradition, our February issue focuses on careers and opportunities.’
    • ‘This could benefit the stream of outgoing students in their hunt for new careers and novel opportunities.’
    • ‘As a young man David McInroy had to come to terms with the fact he was not destined for a career as a professional footballer.’
    • ‘This symposium will discuss some of the careers and opportunities in biotechnology.’
    • ‘Having more control over their careers and financial opportunities is within their grasp.’
    • ‘Now, he says, he wants to give other youngsters an opportunity of a glittering career, too.’
    • ‘Students were also given the opportunity to discuss careers with the regiment team.’
    • ‘Its goal is to get Waterloo students thinking about the opportunities a career in the tax field creates for them.’
    profession, occupation, vocation, calling, employment, job, day job, line, line of work, walk of life, position, post, sphere
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    1. 1.1 The time spent by a person while committed to a particular profession.
      ‘the end of a distinguished career in the navy’
      • ‘Peter had a distinguished career in the second world war, taking part in the Normandy invasion and serving in the Far East.’
      • ‘Both have had long and distinguished careers and I wish them well in their retirement from local government.’
      • ‘The earlier part of his career was spent working in Central Africa and Europe.’
      • ‘He lives in Sedgley Park and has spent much of his career teaching in secondary schools in Salford and Manchester.’
      • ‘Much of his career is spent working on physics and non-euclidean geometry.’
      • ‘At this point in his career Heyting began to follow the same road as his parents by beginning a career as a secondary school teacher.’
      • ‘It is not much of a break when you are 32 and considered to have reached the twilight of a distinguished career.’
      • ‘He has in fact partially succeeded in breaking it down during his distinguished career.’
      • ‘But Ross and Beamish, who had both enjoyed distinguished careers in the whisky industry, had a plan.’
      • ‘I would quite like Mr P-A to get a little further along in his career before he hits old age, but if he has to pass the flame to the next generation, so be it.’
      • ‘Born in a middle-class family, this talented player started his career at the age of 13.’
      • ‘The two most prominent painters of this period, Adam Elsheimer and Johann Liss, both spent much of their careers outside Germany.’
      • ‘It is also a tribute to a distinguished career during which Naipaul never lost sight of his vocation.’
      • ‘Both had distinguished careers on the playing fields with Claremorris.’
      • ‘They are experienced campaigners coming to terms with a fast-shifting landscape towards the end of their distinguished careers.’
      • ‘His distinguished career in the Army saw him attain the rank of Captain, and he opted for early retirement some years ago.’
      • ‘After two careers spent battling each other in the top arenas of the world, this is the final showdown.’
      • ‘The Vulcan and the Victor had long and distinguished careers.’
      • ‘Most of his career was spent working in nuclear weapons research.’
      • ‘He has had a distinguished career, helping to police the Bradford riots and even fulfilling state ceremonial duties.’
    2. 1.2 The progress through history of an institution, organization, etc.
      ‘the court has had a checkered career’
      • ‘We will, however, endeavor to portray with as much accuracy as possible the career of the organization.’
      • ‘The men who thus set in motion the career of the court which is today celebrating its one hundred birthday were all immigrants.’
      • ‘Smith McNell's, the old down-town restaurant and hotel, will change hands shortly for the first time in its long career.’
      existence, life, progress, course, progression, passage, path
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    3. 1.3as modifier Working permanently in or committed to a particular profession.
      ‘a career diplomat’
      • ‘Hannibal is the father figure, the career military man, the only one to attend West Point and it takes some serious time to rise to the rank of Colonel.’
      • ‘He is a career diplomat, serving many years in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway.’
      • ‘He's a career security professional who deplores the leaks of classified material to the press.’
      • ‘Most career pilots didn't get into the profession to end up as cowboys.’
      • ‘As a career diplomat, one might well expect him to tilt the British way.’
      • ‘From their brief entries most of them seem to be career professionals, perhaps a reflection of their privileged private education.’
      • ‘Many more black career professionals, he says, are taking up the game for business purposes.’
      • ‘Hempel was a career diplomat who put protocol above all else.’
      • ‘The career diplomat, elected on a rota basis, promised she would be impartial.’
      • ‘But the carefully modulated tones of this career diplomat were not the red meat that Fleet Street desired.’
      • ‘The army's most striking characteristic was its professionalism and the apolitical views of its career commanders.’
      • ‘He is no disinterested career diplomat - he's a pro-Saudi, leftist partisan with an ax to grind.’
      • ‘A career diplomat, he accepted a series of postings on the Continent, and took his young daughter with him.’
      • ‘The career diplomat made a brief and humble statement before taking the oath of office.’
      • ‘According to Gerdjikov, such statements showed that the person making them was not a career diplomat.’
      • ‘I have one son who is a major in the US Army, he is a career professional.’
      • ‘The next layer down is the permanent career official who works within a government department and carries out government policies.’
      • ‘CIA officers are career professionals who work for the president.’
      • ‘One of them is a marketing executive of a tobacco company and the other a career diplomat and former colleague of the PCB chief.’
      • ‘Perhaps you are just bitter that he is a nationally respected professor while you are just a career student.’
      professional, permanent, full-time, committed
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    4. 1.4as modifier (of a woman) pursuing a profession outside of the home.
      • ‘There's the victim, and the schemer, the Connecticut white lady, and the career girl.’
      • ‘Much attention has been focused on career women who leave the work force to rear children.’
      • ‘One is made up largely of deprived and feckless girls while the other is dominated by highly educated and successful career women.’
      • ‘School and college students, housewives, career women and senior citizens participated in the meet.’
      • ‘The point I wish to make is a sad one, but nevertheless, one that puts some of us career women to shame.’
      • ‘Both were career women juggling the pressures of work and a family.’
      • ‘But a multitude of young career women in Shanghai would be enraged if such a phrase were thrown in their faces.’
      • ‘When Barbie was in her prime, girls were taught to be career women, to be men's equals.’
      • ‘According to researchers, the increasing numbers of career women is the main reason.’
      • ‘I wasn't even a wife, and I certainly wasn't the hip, urban career girl I had been, either.’
      • ‘It's easier, she believes, to become a career woman later in life than a mother.’
      • ‘Young career women are more likely to demand things like flextime and less overtime from employers.’
      • ‘One in four career women would undergo cosmetic surgery if they were more successful as a result of it, a survey found.’
      • ‘They are career women whose jobs keep them, their families and their bodies in the public eye.’
      • ‘They gave the career woman Miranda a baby that she couldn't cope with.’
      • ‘The 1980s and 1990s were decades of progress for western career women and working mothers.’
      • ‘British career women, she said, no longer feel they need to join an organisation to fight for equality with men.’
      • ‘She comes across as very different from the stereotypes of the bitter single career woman or the strident female in power.’
      • ‘All are career women, although it hasn't come easy and is still not guaranteed.’
      • ‘I like being the smart, intelligent career woman who is respected by her peers.’


  • no object, with adverbial of direction Move swiftly and in an uncontrolled way in a specified direction.

    ‘the car careered across the road and went through a hedge’
    • ‘Three men were rushed to hospital after a stock car careered off a track and ploughed into two of them them during a Sunday race meeting.’
    • ‘It hit a kerb and lamp post before careering back across Meggeson Avenue, crashing into the parked cars and overturning.’
    • ‘A woman was killed and a man injured yesterday when their car careered off the road and smashed into a tree.’
    • ‘A judge at Bradford Crown Court yesterday watched amateur video footage of the Fiesta as it sped along the road before careering into crowds of people lining the race route.’
    • ‘The vehicle careered off the road, and landed on its side in a field.’
    • ‘A police spokesman said the car careered off the road and crashed into a small roadside stone wall before overturning.’
    • ‘Twelve miles later, a tyre blew and the lorry careered off the road and into a tree.’
    • ‘The car careered down the road and hit a chestnut tree head-on.’
    • ‘The car careered into a bank on one side of the road rebounding off the bank and throwing both Jarrott and his companion out of the vehicle.’
    • ‘He remembered the car careering off the road, ploughing through a hedge and rolling over a couple of times.’
    • ‘The car careered off the road and overturned on a number of occasions.’
    • ‘The operation simulated a high speed train - which had jumped a red light - careering into a car on a level crossing.’
    • ‘He careered into seven parked cars, at one point mounting the side of a vehicle and driving on only two wheels, before coming to a halt.’
    • ‘He was delivering a truckload of glass panes when he careered off the road between Chiseldon and Liddington yesterday.’
    • ‘This simulated emergency braking and showed how, without ESP the car careered all over the road with much more potential to cause damage.’
    • ‘However the longer route has to be taken as they won't fit down the side of the house this way, so it's out through one gate and in through another hoping not to meet a car careering down the road in the process.’
    • ‘He rose but careered wildly into the ropes and his tenure as champion was over.’
    • ‘The tires screeched nosily on the road as it careered across going into the path of other cars.’
    • ‘High speed cost a new driver his life when his car careered out of control and struck a tree, a North Yorkshire inquest was told.’
    • ‘It careered onto the median and struck the car, bursting into flames.’
    rush, hurtle, streak, shoot, race, bolt, dash, speed, run, gallop, stampede, cannon, careen, whizz, buzz, zoom, flash, blast, charge, hare, fly, wing, pelt, scurry, scud, go like the wind
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  • in full career

    • archaic At full speed.

      • ‘The Indian again came in sight, and, in full career, rushed towards him, passed him, and wheeling halted his horse.’
      • ‘Such stoppers are invaluable, for without them it is not easy to stop a big full-rigged ship in full career without doing any damage or carrying something away.’
      • ‘At his heels follows the Dog, outstretched in full career.’
      • ‘They had accordingly made their way back across the mountains, and down the rivers, and were in full career for St. Louis, when thus suddenly interrupted.’
      • ‘Our centre had even captured the third enemy line, while the army on the left wing was in full career and now miles away to the west.’


Mid 16th century (denoting a road or racecourse): from French carrière, from Italian carriera, based on Latin carrus ‘wheeled vehicle’.