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From Middle English werkere, worcher, wercher, equivalent to work +‎ -er. Displaced the older term wright, from Old English wyrhta.



worker (plural workers)

  1. A person who performs labor for a living, especially manual labor.
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, [] (King James Version), London: [] Robert Barker, [], →OCLC, Psalms 37:1:
      Fret not thy ſelfe becauſe of euill doers, neither bee thou enuious againſt the workers of iniquitie.
    • 1986, Janice G. Raymond, A Passion for Friends: Toward a Philosophy of Female Affection[1], Boston: Beacon Press, →ISBN, →LCCN, →OCLC, page 124:
      Writer Ta Chen, in a statistical study of industrial labor in China in 1933, recorded that 66.6 percent of the total number of workers in the four main industrial regions of Kwangtung were women. In Shun-te, 81.2 percent of the labor force were women.
    • 2014 April 21, “Subtle effects”, in The Economist[2], volume 411, number 8884:
      Manganism has been known about since the 19th century, when miners exposed to ores containing manganese [] began to totter, slur their speech and behave like someone inebriated. The poisoning was irreversible, and soon ended in psychosis and death. Nowadays workers are exposed to far lower doses and manganism is rare.
    • 2017 February 2, Jeff Farrell, “Fukushima nuclear disaster: Lethal levels of radiation detected in leak seven years after plant meltdown in Japan”, in The Independent[3], London:
      Although the radiation levels identified are high, a threat to human health is very unlikely because apart from workers at the site, no-one goes there.
  2. A nonreproductive social insect, such as ant, bee, termite, or wasp.
    1. (rare) A female ant, bee, termite or wasp.
  3. (computing) A thread performing one instance of a particular task within a program.
    This FTP client spawns a separate worker for each file to be uploaded.



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