Definition of worker in US English:



  • 1A person who does a specified type of work or who works in a specified way.

    ‘a farm worker’
    ‘she's a good worker’
    • ‘It has happened to steel workers, car workers, bank staff; now it's the doctors' turn.’
    • ‘Striking shipyard workers demand the right to independent trade unions.’
    • ‘Everywhere SARS has struck, healthcare workers have been its primary victims.’
    • ‘Police kept reporters, rescue workers and human rights monitors away from the prison until the gunfire faded.’
    • ‘Migrant farm workers are hired temporarily, usually for a harvest.’
    • ‘The Royal Mail sacked the two postal workers on the grounds that they had taken " excessive " sick leave.’
    • ‘Farmers want timely admission of an adequate number of temporary foreign farm workers.’
    • ‘There are generally no other jobs available for unemployed farm workers in a rural area.’
    • ‘The strike was held by the public service workers ' trade union, Unison.’
    • ‘Now she works as an organiser for the PCS civil service workers ' union.’
    • ‘Nor will next-generation industries such as biotech and chip design provide many jobs for laid-off factory workers.’
    • ‘Chelmsford Crown Court heard how more than 20 post office staff and pub workers were confronted by the two robbers.’
    • ‘Striking construction workers rallied in Lima and barricaded the Pan-American Highway, blocking the movement of passenger vehicles and trucks.’
    • ‘The firm now has 30 employees at its Glasgow headquarters and employs 1000 factory workers in Europe.’
    • ‘As a result of these policies, Peru now has 250,000 unemployed construction workers.’
    • ‘In 1993-94, the Klein government rolled back health care workers ' wages by 5 percent.’
    • ‘The story follows a group of railway maintenance workers who are forced to cut corners with disastrous results.’
    • ‘The WSWS does not propose that doctors, nurses and other health care workers not be paid.’
    • ‘Many of them were community leaders, teachers, health workers and people in the local bureaucracy.’
    • ‘The RMT rail workers ' union at Waterloo has voted to oppose the war.’
    1. 1.1 An employee, especially one who does manual or nonexecutive work.
      • ‘Stressing the current difficulty in recruiting manual workers, he said career opportunities had to be provided to change this trend.’
      • ‘Such people are not generally peasants or manual workers.’
      • ‘That will mean a harsh deal for manual workers who can't physically work beyond 60 or 65.’
      • ‘The second generation remained largely proletarian, although many moved into the ranks of skilled blue-collar workers.’
      • ‘Over 1,000 workers are picketing the plant under the watch of about 45 policemen.’
      • ‘More than half of the company's workers lost their jobs as well as their pension savings.’
      • ‘She reported that the workers were out picketing without even waiting for a response.’
      • ‘He left school without qualifications and was a shop assistant before becoming a manual worker for Birmingham Council.’
      • ‘Half of the workers earn less than the median salary of $400 monthly.’
      • ‘After those people left, the workers from the municipal government began to dismantle the sheds.’
      • ‘Higher proportions of the workforce are white-collar managers/administrators or blue-collar skilled manual workers, with little in between.’
      • ‘This was the first time the manual workers and the technical and white collar staff had acted together.’
      • ‘The fare hike will go into effect as the city's workers already face severe financial hardships.’
      • ‘In 1911 over three-quarters of Britain's employed population were manual workers.’
      • ‘So this weekend 2,400 of the company's workers face life on the dole.’
      • ‘The most admired vocations are manual workers such as cook or driver.’
      • ‘What exactly does it mean to keep today's workers happy and working effectively?’
      • ‘Ultimately, the government backed down, allowing striking temporary workers who had been fired to return to work.’
      • ‘Workers picketed the site and scuffles broke out between picketers and non-union workers.’
      • ‘Today's workers are more productive than past workers.’
      employee, member of staff, working man, working woman, workman, labourer, hand, operative, operator
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    2. 1.2informal A person who works hard.
      ‘I got a reputation for being a worker’
      • ‘The guy is a worker, there's no doubt he's a worker.’
      • ‘He may not have great size, but he's a worker.’
      hard worker, toiler, workhorse, stakhanovite, galley slave
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    3. 1.3workers Used in Marxist or leftist contexts to refer to the working class.
      • ‘This unrest was part of a much wider crisis of morale that covered the whole urban world, workers and middle classes alike.’
      • ‘Thus, just as Marxists once berated workers for false consciousness, the cultural left berates its chosen constituents.’
      • ‘In its place will come the class of productive workers, the working class, that has been up until today oppressed.’
      • ‘He told us about its working class program, workers ' rights and the world political situation.’
      • ‘Therefore, the future of the urban working class and workers and peasants in rural areas will be a key issue.’
      • ‘Democrats say the White House is putting corporate interests ahead of workers and the middle class.’
      • ‘While the workers and the middle class of the great cities perished in misery, Stinnes became the owner of fabulous riches.’
  • 2A person who produces or achieves a specified thing.

    ‘a worker of miracles’
    • ‘Dowie was already regarded as little short of a miracle worker for his achievements under particularly difficult circumstances at Oldham Athletic.’
    • ‘Some friends have said that I am a miracle worker.’
    • ‘Having said that, they may not be miracle workers, but acupuncturists have brought relief to many ailing patients.’
    • ‘Lentils are miracle workers, packed full of goodness, grains are full of fibre and great energy boosters, and we all know what beans do for you.’
    • ‘Looking at his credentials, few would probably argue if Lambie was tagged a miracle worker, but considering his tendency to go against the grain it is unsurprising that the man himself would.’
  • 3(in social insects such as bees, wasps, ants, and termites) a neuter or undeveloped female that is a member of what is usually the most numerous caste and does the basic work of the colony.

    • ‘The worker bees are the ones capable of stinging.’
    • ‘When there is an influx of nectar into the nest, the colony deploys more workers for foraging.’
    • ‘All of the colonies contained at least eight workers and a queen at the start of the experiments.’
    • ‘By staying out in the cold, the worker slows down the parasite's metabolism, often so much that the bee dies a natural death before the fly larva can mature.’
    • ‘You can separate workers from the colony to experiment, put them back together, and so on.’
    • ‘Drifting of honeybee workers into neighboring colonies is common and well established.’
    • ‘The honeybees return to the hive and pass the nectar onto other worker bees.’
    • ‘For a single colony, the workers collected at baits were kept alive in the laboratory.’
    • ‘In autumn, the larvae emerge as adult workers and begin enlarging the colony.’
    • ‘These samples were collected from different queenless colonies, the worker brood emerging being laid by workers.’
    • ‘Colony development and the behavior of workers in these colonies resembled colonies reared in summer.’
    • ‘The queen bee eats the workers ' eggs to retain her control over the colony.’
    • ‘The species has been shown to display nepotism as the worker ants favor the broods of the queen to whom they are most closely related.’
    • ‘Polybia occidentalis workers engaged in social biting with nest mates.’
    • ‘We also tested intercolony hostility between nonmarked workers of two original colonies.’
    • ‘‘At first I thought it might have been a worker bee or a wasp or something, but it was about two or three times the size of a normal wasp - it was massive,’ she said.’
    • ‘One teaspoon of honey is the entire life work of a worker bee.’
    • ‘But other worker bees in the org are not so happy with the move.’
    • ‘Fifty or a hundred yards farther on, the worker ants form a new nest, and the colony files into place, rapidly at first and then more slowly as the last guests stumble in.’
    • ‘Often, when the queen or many workers are killed, host colonies eventually perish.’