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American English: /wərk/
British English: /wəːk/

Translation of work in Spanish:


  • 1 uncountable (labor, tasks) it was a lot of work
    dio mucho trabajo
    I've got work to do
    tengo trabajo or cosas que hacer
    you're making more work for yourself
    te estás creando más trabajo
    repair work
    reparaciones (feminine plural)
    arreglos (masculine plural)
    the building work is still going on
    todavía están en obras
    she was advised not to do any heavy work
    le aconsejaron que no hiciera trabajos pesados
    the work of the Red Cross
    el trabajo or la labor de la Cruz Roja
    work has already started on the film
    ya han empezado a filmar or rodar
    they've finished work on the building/road
    ya han terminado las obras en el edificio/la carretera
    she's got a lot of work to do to catch up
    va a tener que trabajar mucho para ponerse al día
    work in process or (British) progress
    trabajos en curso
    the house needs a lot of work done or (British) doing to it
    la casa necesita muchos arreglos
    let your legs do the work
    (deja) que las piernas hagan el esfuerzo
    she put a lot of work into it
    puso mucho esfuerzo or empeño en ello
    a lot of work goes into making a rug like this
    una alfombra así lleva mucho trabajo
    to set to work
    ponerse a trabajar
    poner manos a la obra
    we set to work painting the kitchen
    nos pusimos a pintar la cocina
    keep up the good work!
    ¡sigue ( or sigan etc. ) así!
    it's hard work digging
    cavar es muy duro
    hard work never harmed or hurt anybody
    trabajar duro no le hace daño a nadie
    I don't want to have to talk to them: it's too much like hard work
    no quiero tener que hablar con ellos: es demasiado esfuerzo
    he's such hard work
    da muchísimo trabajo
    pleasing her is hard work
    es difícil de agradar
    that was quick work!
    ¡qué rapidez!
    I've done a good day's work
    he aprovechado bien el día
    it's all in a day's work
    es el pan nuestro de cada día
    to have one's work cut outshe's going to have her work cut out to get the job done in time
    le va a costar terminar el trabajo a tiempo
    to make short work of something/somebodyPete made short work of the ironing
    Pete planchó todo rapidísimo
    you made short work of that pizza!
    ¡te has despachado pronto la pizza!
    he made short work of her in the debate
    la hizo trizas en el debate
    all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy
    hay que dejar tiempo para el esparcimiento
    Example sentences
    • Be it as a player or a coach or otherwise success only comes as a result of hard work and effort.
    • Brilliant breakthroughs can emerge as a result of hard work and disciplined effort.
    • The students must come first: they are the ones who actively do the work and achieve the results.
    Example sentences
    • He has done a small number of private commissions but has undertaken no major painting work.
    • It will be strictly not for profit and much of the renovation work will be undertaken by volunteers.
    • Also, is it reasonable to stipulate that no work be undertaken over the weekend?
  • 2 uncountable (employment) place of work
    lugar (masculine) de trabajo
    he does factory/PR work
    trabaja en una fábrica/en relaciones públicas
    she does a lot of work for the government
    trabaja mucho para el gobierno
    to look for/find work
    buscar/encontrar trabajo
    to go to work
    ir a trabajar or al trabajo
    they both go out to work (British)
    los dos trabajan (afuera)
    I start/finish work at seven
    entro a trabajar or al trabajo/salgo del trabajo a las siete
    I walk/drive to work
    voy al trabajo a pie/en coche
    Example sentences
    • Tade could turn his hand to any type of work and earned his living from his own expertise.
    • It's for six months which is really good for an actress to get so much work and a steady income.
    • Clarks said it would provide support to employees seeking alternative work.
  • 3 (in phrases) at workhe's at work
    está en el trabajo
    está en la oficina ( or la fábrica etc. )
    they were hard at work when I walked in
    estaban muy ocupados trabajando cuando entré
    other forces were at work
    intervenían otros factores
    había otros factores en juego
    men at work
    obras, hombres trabajando
    in work (British) those in work
    quienes tienen trabajo
    off workshe was off work for a month after the accident
    después del accidente estuvo un mes sin trabajar
    he took a day off work to visit the exhibition
    se tomó un día libre para ir a la exposición
    out of workthe closures will put 1,200 people out of work
    los cierres dejarán en la calle a 1.200 personas
    she's been out of work for six months
    hace seis meses que está sin trabajo or que está desocupada or desempleada or (Chile also) cesante
    lleva seis meses parada or en el paro (Spain)
  • 4 4.1 countable (product, single item) a reference work
    una obra de consulta
    a work of art
    una obra de arte
    complete works
    obras completas
    Example sentences
    • Now he is penning plays, musicals and literary works, and his new audience requires a different kind of chap altogether.
    • Her Magnum Opus Project is commissioning nine new orchestral works and six new compositions.
    • The Erotokritos, one of the epic works of Greek literature is told and re-told in much of Cretan music.
    4.2 uncountable (output) his work is not up to standard
    su trabajo no es del nivel requerido
    a piece of work
    un trabajo
    an exhibition of recent work by Sam Pym
    una exposición de obras recientes de Sam Pym
    to be the work of somebody
    ser obra de alguien
    it was the work of a professional
    era obra de un profesional
    Example sentences
    • Since then her career has developed in opera, concert work, recording and broadcasting.
    • The only living artist to have his work hung in the Natyet resonates with images of his Dublin Bay home.
    • Still, she is hanging my work and will be sainted for it, in a weak moment I might have given her one.

intransitive verb

  • 1 (to earn a living)
    both his parents work
    tanto la madre como el padre trabajan (afuera)
    I work in a bank/as a receptionist/in insurance
    trabajo en un banco/de recepcionista/en seguros
    he works nights
    trabaja de noche
    to get working
    ponerse a trabajar
    poner manos a la obra
    to work hard
    trabajar mucho or duro
    he works hard at school
    es un alumno muy aplicado
    we work a 40-hour week
    nuestra semana laboral es de 40 horas
    to work at somethingshe's working hard at her French
    está poniendo mucho empeño en mejorar su francés
    está dándole duro al francés [colloquial]
    you have to work at your service
    tiene que practicar el servicio
    a relationship is something you have to work at
    una relación de pareja requiere cierto esfuerzo
    she was working away at her accounts
    estaba ocupada con su contabilidad
    to work for somebody
    trabajar para alguien
    to work for oneself
    trabajar por cuenta propia
    make your money work for you
    ponga su dinero a trabajar
    to work for somethingall her life she worked for a more equal society
    toda su vida luchó por una sociedad más justa
    fame didn't just come to me: I had to work for it
    la fama no me llegó del cielo, tuve que trabajar para conseguirla
    he's working for his finals
    está estudiando or está preparándose para los exámenes finales
    to work from somethingworking from old drawings they restored the window
    restauraron la ventana partiendo de antiguos dibujos
    to work from nature (artist)
    copiar de la naturaleza
    to work in somethingto work in marble
    trabajar el mármol or con mármol
    to work in oils
    pintar al óleo
    trabajar con óleos
    to work on somethinghe's working on his car
    está arreglando el coche
    the police are working on the case I'm working on the 18th century
    estoy estudiando el siglo XVIII
    I'm working on a biography of Napoleon
    estoy preparando or escribiendo una biografía de Napoleón
    scientists are working on a cure
    los científicos están intentando encontrar una cura
    she hasn't been fired yet, but she's working on it [humorous]
    todavía no la han echado, pero parece empeñada en que lo hagan
    we're working on the assumption that …
    partimos del supuesto de que …
    the police had very little to work on
    la policía tenía muy pocas pistas
    the poison works on the nervous system
    el veneno actúa sobre or ataca el sistema nervioso
    to work toward somethingwe are working toward a peaceful solution
    estamos intentando hallar una solución pacífica
    to work toward a better future
    luchar por un futuro mejor
    to work under somebody
    trabajar bajo la dirección de alguien
    Example sentences
    • 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.
    • I've never ever worked in an office before, I've only ever worked as a waitress.
    • He worked as a ranger employed by the council at the Flitch Way Country Park, which runs from Bishop's Stortford to Braintree.
  • 2 2.1 (to operate, to function)
    it works off batteries democracy won't work here
    aquí no va a funcionar la democracia
    to work against/in favor of somebody/something
    obrar en contra/a favor de alguien/algo
    to work both waysthe changes work both ways: you might make money but you could also lose
    los cambios son un arma de doble filo: se puede ganar dinero pero también se puede perder
    both sides benefit: it works both ways
    ambas partes salen ganando: el beneficio es mutuo
    Example sentences
    • So many of our institutions and systems are not working properly, including the judiciary.
    • But even at the highest levels there is a tacit acknowledgment that the system is not working properly.
    • Walhi's lawyers, however, said the early warning system had not worked properly.
    Example sentences
    • He looked back at the counter where a blonde haired girl was busy working the machines.
    • Women snigger at men for being unable to work a washing machine, men snigger at women for being bad drivers.
    • Before the advent of the computer I worked a manual Comptometer machine, the keys of which had to be pounded.
    2.2 (to have a required effect)
    surtir efecto
    her idea didn't work try it, it might work
    pruébalo, quizás resulte
    the scene works beautifully
    la escena está muy bien lograda
    the play doesn't work on TV
    la obra no se presta para televisión
    these colors just don't work together
    estos colores no pegan or no combinan
    Example sentences
    • This method works only with insurance plans that use coinsurance, where patients pay a portion of their bills until they reach a maximum.
    • This method works if the water reservoir in the top 5 feet of soil is at or near field capacity at planting time.
    • In both cases the game plan worked, and McClaren admitted that the result was a huge relief.
  • 3 (to penetrate, to travel down) (+ adverb complement) the oil has to work through the engine
    el aceite tiene que circular por el motor
    wait until the solution has worked through the fabric
    espere hasta que la solución haya impregnado bien la tela
    his socks had worked down to his ankles
    se le habían caído los calcetines
    see alsofree 1 1 3, → loose 1 1 2

transitive verb

  • 1 1.1 (to force to work)
    hacer trabajar
    to work oneself to death
    matarse trabajando
    you must work every muscle
    tienes que ejercitar or hacer trabajar todos los músculos
    Example sentences
    • 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.
    • The rich, throat-catching smell of hard worked packhorses hit me even as I drew in a sharp gasp of amazement.
    1.2 (to exploit)
    it's a theme that's been worked to death already
    es un tema del que ya se ha abusado hasta la saciedad
    Example sentences
    • Gilberth explains how his practices have changed even in the few years he's worked this land.
    • Mr Spargo took shares in a company formed for working a mine which he sold to the company.
    • 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.
    1.3 (to be employed in)
    trabajar en
    Example sentences
    • Men were busy working on architecture or training in the army while young ladies worked the market place.
    • Nobody that has ever worked the killing room will ever tell you that you will catch every one, no matter how hard you try.
    • One of six children, his father worked a small farm and laboured for the county council to make ends meet.
    1.4 (to pay for by working) he worked his passage to Australia
    se costeó el pasaje a Australia trabajando en el barco
  • 2 (to make to function) do you know how to work the machine?
    ¿sabes manejar la máquina?
    this lever works the sprinkler system
    esta palanca acciona el sistema de riego
    the pump is worked by hand
    la bomba funciona manualmente
  • 3 3.1 (to force gradually, manipulate) (+ adverb complement) work the brush into the corners
    mete bien el cepillo en los rincones
    he worked the peg out of the crevice
    consiguió sacar el clavo de la grieta
    I'll try to work that quote into the article
    trataré de meter esa cita en el artículo
    we worked some concessions out of them
    conseguimos sacarles algunas concesiones
    to work one's wayhis belt had worked its way loose
    se le había soltado el cinturón
    we worked our way toward the exit
    nos abrimos camino hacia la salida
    I worked my way through volume three
    logré terminar el tercer volumen
    damp was working its way up the walls
    la humedad estaba subiendo por las paredes
    she worked her way to the top of her profession
    trabajó hasta llegar a la cima de su profesión
    he worked his way across the continent/through college
    cruzó el continente/hizo la carrera trabajando
    Example sentences
    • 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.
    3.2 (to shape, fashion)
    work the flour into the mixture
    vaya añadiendo la harina a la mezcla
    Example sentences
    • Using your fingers, draw in the flour and work the mixture into a dough, adding more water if necessary.
    • Sift the flour with the baking powder into the bowl and work the mixture with your hand until it forms a firm dough.
    • Then the mixture is worked, gently at first, and then more vigorously.
    Example sentences
    • The limner was never solely a miniaturist, but worked in other formats and media too.
    • Dr. Bob works in cypress, training trees over many years to grow in specific shapes.
    • As well as using clear, sandblasted glass, Kelly works in cheery yellow and orange.
    3.3 (in needlework, knitting) work eight rows in rib
    hacer or (Latin America also) tejer ocho hileras de punto elástico
    work three rows of cross-stitch
    bordar or hacer tres hileras de punto (de) cruz
    the design is worked entirely by hand
    el motivo está hecho ( or bordado etc. ) totalmente a mano
  • 4
    past tense & past participle worked or wrought
    4.1 (to bring about)
    see also wrought
    Example sentences
    • The miracle has been wrought by recognising health as a human right - and therefore the responsibility of the state - and acting accordingly.
    • For Hugh, a 22-year-old IT worker, has wrought a minor miracle.
    • Miracles will be wrought, the sick will be healed and signs and wonders will follow the believers.
    4.2 (to manage, to arrange) [colloquial] if you want to meet him, I'll try to work it for you
    si quieres conocerlo, veré si lo puedo arreglar
    she worked it so that I didn't have to pay
    se las arregló or se las ingenió para que yo no tuviera que pagar

Phrasal verbs

work off

verb + object + adverb, verb + adverb + object
1 (get rid of) you can work off a few kilos in the gym
puede rebajar algunos kilos haciendo ejercicios en el gimnasio
he works his frustrations off on me
se desahoga or se desquita de sus frustraciones metiéndose conmigo
se desahoga or se desquita de sus frustraciones agarrándosela conmigo (Latin America) [colloquial]
pagar (trabajando)

work out

1verb + adverb 1.1 (turn out) to work out well/badly
salir or resultar bien/mal
it works out more/less expensive by rail
sale or resulta más caro/más barato en tren
to work out at somethingit works out at $75 a gram/a head
sale (a) 75 dólares el gramo/por cabeza
the complete package works out at $420
el paquete completo sale (por) 420 dólares
1.2 (be successful)
salir bien
things haven't worked out for her
las cosas no le han salido bien
1.3 (train, exercise) (Sport)
hacer ejercicio
2verb + object + adverb, verb + adverb + object 2.1 (solve)
things will work themselves out
las cosas se arreglarán solas
they've got to work things out for themselves
tienen que resolver las cosas por sí mismos
we can work it out!
¡ya lo arreglaremos!
2.2 (find, calculate)
have you worked out the answer?
¿lo has resuelto?
he worked out how much we would need
calculó cuánto necesitaríamos
2.3 (understand)
(person/attitude) (British)
I couldn't work out what he meant
no lograba entender qué quería decir
I can't work out why he did such a thing
no logro entender or no me explico por qué hizo semejante cosa
I can't work out where we are
no me doy cuenta de dónde estamos
2.4 (devise, determine)
we've worked out a deal with the unions
hemos llegado a un acuerdo con los sindicatos
the details still have to be worked out
todavía falta finalizar los detalles
I've worked out a way of …
he encontrado or ideado una manera de …
I've got to work out what to do with the money
tengo que decidir qué hacer con el dinero
to have it all worked out [colloquial]
tenerlo todo resuelto or planeado
2.5 (complete)
(prison sentence)
to work out one's notice
trabajar hasta el final del período de preaviso
2.6 (exhaust)

work over

verb + object + adverb
darle una paliza a
sacarle la mugre a (Latin America) [colloquial]

work up

verb + object + adverb, verb + adverb + object
1 1.1 (stimulate) they had worked up an appetite
se les había abierto el apetito
I couldn't work up much enthusiasm
no me entusiasmaba demasiado
with all that talking I'd worked up quite a thirst
me había dado mucha sed de tanto hablar
to work up a sweat
empezar a sudar
to work up a lather
hacer espuma
1.2 (excite, arouse) she gets very worked up about it
se pone como loca
you'll only work yourself up
solo vas a conseguir disgustarte or hacerte mala sangre
to work somebody/oneself up into somethingshe works herself up into a state
se pone como loca
they had been worked up into a frenzy
los habían puesto frenéticos
los habían exaltado
to work somebody/oneself up to somethingshe worked them up to a fever pitch of excitement
los sobreexcitó hasta el delirio
2 2.1 (increase, expand) she worked the factory up into what it is today
desarrolló la fábrica hasta convertirla en lo que es hoy día
2.2 (improve)

work up to

verb + adverb + preposition + object
the action works up to a climax
la trama se desarrolla hasta llegar a un clímax
she thought he was working up to a proposal
creyó que estaba preparando el terreno para pedirle matrimonio
she finally sacked him: she'd been working up to it for months
finalmente lo echó: hacía meses que lo venía preparando or madurando
I wonder what he's working up to
me pregunto qué se propone
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