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Mid 16th century, from French carrière (a road or racecourse), from Italian carriera, from Old Occitan carreira, from Late Latin carrāria based on Latin carrus 'wheeled vehicle'. Alternatively, from Middle French carriere, from Old Occitan carriera ("road"), from Late Latin carrāria.



career (plural careers)

  1. One's calling in life; a person's occupation; one's profession.
    • 1971, John Lennon (lyrics), “Working Class Hero”, in John Lennon / Plastic Ono Band, performed by John Lennon:
      When they've tortured and scared you for twenty-odd years / Then they expect you to pick a career
    • 2012 January 1, Douglas Larson, “Runaway Devils Lake”, in American Scientist[1], volume 100, number 1, page 46:
      Devils Lake is where I began my career as a limnologist in 1964, studying the lake’s neotenic salamanders and chironomids, or midge flies. […] The Devils Lake Basin is an endorheic, or closed, basin covering about 9,800 square kilometers in northeastern North Dakota.
  2. General course of action or conduct in life, or in a particular part of it.
    Washington's career as a soldier
  3. (archaic) Speed.
    • 1648, John Wilkins, Mathematical Magick
      when a horse is running in his full career
    • 1843, Thomas Carlyle, Past and Present, book 3, chapter XIII, Democracy
      It may be admitted that Democracy, in all meanings of the word, is in full career; irresistible by any Ritter Kauderwalsch or other Son of Adam, as times go.
  4. A jouster's path during a joust.
    • 1819: Sir Walter Scott, Ivanhoe
      These knights, therefore, their aim being thus eluded, rushed from opposite sides betwixt the object of their attack and the Templar, almost running their horses against each other ere they could stop their career.
  5. (obsolete) A short gallop of a horse. [16th-18th c.]
    • 1603, John Florio, trans. Michel de Montaigne, Essyas, I.48:
      It is said of Cæsar [] that in his youth being mounted upon a horse, and without any bridle, he made him run a full cariere [tr. carriere], make a sodaine stop, and with his hands behind his backe performe what ever can be expected of an excellent ready horse.
    • 1756, William Guthrie (translator), Of Eloquence (originally by Quintillian)
      Such littleness damps the heat, and weakens the force of genius; as we check a horse in his career, and rein him in when we want him to amble
  6. (falconry) The flight of a hawk.
  7. (obsolete) A racecourse; the ground run over.

Related terms[edit]



career (third-person singular simple present careers, present participle careering, simple past and past participle careered)

  1. To move rapidly straight ahead, especially in an uncontrolled way.
    Synonym: careen
    The car careered down the road, missed the curve, and went through a hedge.
    • 2011 September 16, Ben Dirs, “Rugby World Cup 2011: New Zealand 83-7 Japan”, in BBC Sport[2]:
      However, the hosts hit back and hit back hard, first replacement hooker Andrew Hore sliding over, then Williams careering out of his own half and leaving several defenders for dead before flipping the ball to Nonu to finish off a scintillating move.



career (not comparable)

  1. Synonym of serial (doing something repeatedly or regularly as part of one's lifestyle or career)
    a career criminal
    • 2012, Arthur Gillard, Homelessness (page 38)
      Studies on homeless income find that the typical “career panhandler” who dedicates his time overwhelmingly to begging can make between $600 and $1,500 a month.

Further reading[edit]

  • "career" in Raymond Williams, Keywords (revised), 1983, Fontana Press, page 52.



From English career.


career (plural careers)

  1. career