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

    ‘a worker of miracles’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Dowie was already regarded as little short of a miracle worker for his achievements under particularly difficult circumstances at Oldham Athletic.’
    • ‘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.

    • ‘Drifting of honeybee workers into neighboring colonies is common and well established.’
    • ‘Often, when the queen or many workers are killed, host colonies eventually perish.’
    • ‘Polybia occidentalis workers engaged in social biting with nest mates.’
    • ‘These samples were collected from different queenless colonies, the worker brood emerging being laid by workers.’
    • ‘We also tested intercolony hostility between nonmarked workers of two original colonies.’
    • ‘When there is an influx of nectar into the nest, the colony deploys more workers for foraging.’
    • ‘Colony development and the behavior of workers in these colonies resembled colonies reared in summer.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘For a single colony, the workers collected at baits were kept alive in the laboratory.’
    • ‘‘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.’
    • ‘You can separate workers from the colony to experiment, put them back together, and so on.’
    • ‘The queen bee eats the workers ' eggs to retain her control over the colony.’
    • ‘In autumn, the larvae emerge as adult workers and begin enlarging the colony.’
    • ‘All of the colonies contained at least eight workers and a queen at the start of the experiments.’
    • ‘The worker bees are the ones capable of stinging.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But other worker bees in the org are not so happy with the move.’
    • ‘The honeybees return to the hive and pass the nectar onto other worker bees.’
    • ‘One teaspoon of honey is the entire life work of a worker bee.’
    • ‘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.’