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Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English werking, werkynge, warkynge, worchinge, from Old English wyrċung (working, work), verbal noun of wyrċan (to work), equivalent to work +‎ -ing. Cognate with Scots wirking, warking, Dutch werking, German Wirkung.


working (countable and uncountable, plural workings)

  1. (usually in the plural) Operation; action.
  2. Method of operation.
  3. (arithmetic) The incidental or subsidiary calculations performed in solving an overall problem.
    Be sure to check your working.
  4. Fermentation.
  5. (of bodies of water) Becoming full of a vegetable substance.
  6. A place where work is carried on.
    the abandoned mine workings
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.

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English workyng, wirkynge, worchinge, werchinge, workinde, wirkand, worchende, wurchende, from Old English wyrċende, from Proto-Germanic *wurkijandz, present participle of Proto-Germanic *wurkijaną (to work), equivalent to work +‎ -ing. Compare Scots wirkand, werkand, warkand (working), Dutch werkend (working, acting), German wirkend (acting, working).



  1. present participle of work
    Leave him alone; he’s working.


working (not comparable)

  1. That is or are functioning.
    a working ventilator
  2. That suffices but requires additional work.
    a working copy of the script
  3. In paid employment.
    working mothers
  4. Of or relating to employment.
    the working week
  5. Enough to allow one to use something.
    a working knowledge of computers
  6. Used in real life; practical.
    The working minimum focus distance is the distance from the closest focusable subject to the lens.
Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]


  • working in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911.