task

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

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

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

task (plural tasks)

  1. A piece of work done as part of one’s duties.
    • 2013 August 10, “A new prescription”, 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.
  2. A difficult or tedious undertaking.
    • 2013 July 19, Ian Sample, “Irregular bedtimes may affect children's brains”, 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. An objective.
  4. (computing) A process or execution of a program.

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.

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Translations[edit]

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Verb[edit]

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, The Tempest, by Shakespeare, 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.
    • Dryden
      There task thy maids, and exercise the loom.
  2. To oppress with severe or excessive burdens; to tax.
  3. To charge, as with a fault.
    • Beaumont and Fletcher
      Too impudent to task me with those errors.

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