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See also: Task


Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English taske, from Old Northern French tasque, (compare Old French variant tasche), from Medieval Latin tasca, alteration of taxa, from Latin taxāre (censure; charge).



task (plural tasks)

  1. A piece of work done as part of one’s duties.
    The employee refused to complete the assignment, arguing that it was not one of the tasks listed in her job description.
  2. Any piece of work done.
    • 2013 July 19, Ian Sample, “Irregular bedtimes may affect children's brains”, in The Guardian Weekly, volume 189, number 6, page 34:
      Irregular bedtimes may disrupt healthy brain development in young children, according to a study of intelligence and sleeping habits.  ¶ Going to bed at a different time each night affected girls more than boys, but both fared worse on mental tasks than children who had a set bedtime, researchers found.
  3. A difficult or tedious undertaking.
    • 2013 August 10, “A new prescription”, in The Economist, volume 408, number 8848:
      As the world's drug habit shows, governments are failing in their quest to monitor every London window-box and Andean hillside for banned plants. But even that Sisyphean task looks easy next to the fight against synthetic drugs. No sooner has a drug been blacklisted than chemists adjust their recipe and start churning out a subtly different one.
  4. An objective.
  5. (computing) A process or execution of a program.
    The user killed the frozen task.
Usage notes[edit]
  • Adjectives often applied to "task": difficult, easy, simple, hard, tough, complex, not-so-easy, challenging, complicated, tricky, formidable, arduous, laborious, onerous, small, big, huge, enormous, tremendous, gigantic, mammoth, colossal, gargantuan, social, intellectual, theological, important, basic, trivial, unpleasant, demanding, pleasant, noble, painful, grim, responsible, rewarding, boring, ungrateful, delightful, glorious, agreeable.
Derived terms[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


task (third-person singular simple present tasks, present participle tasking, simple past and past participle tasked)

  1. (transitive) To assign a task to, or impose a task on.
    On my first day in the office, I was tasked with sorting a pile of invoices.
    • 1610, William Shakespeare, The Tempest, act 1 scene 2
      All hail, great master! grave sir, hail! I come / To answer thy best pleasure; be't to fly, / To swim, to dive into the fire, to ride / On the curl'd clouds, to thy strong bidding task / Ariel and all his quality.
    • c. 1693-1696, John Dryden, Last parting of Hector and Andromache: From the Sixth Book of Homer's Iliads
      There task thy maids, and exercise the loom.
    • 2021 May 19, “Network News: HS2 unearths 900 years of history in Buckinghamshire”, in RAIL, number 931, page 23:
      By 1966 the building was considered so unsafe that the Royal Engineers were tasked with demolishing it.
  2. (transitive) To oppress with severe or excessive burdens; to tax.
  3. (transitive) To charge, as with a fault.

Etymology 2[edit]



  1. Alternative form of taisch