Task vs. Work: What's the Difference?
Task is a specific activity or duty, while Work refers to general effort or exertion.
Task denotes a specific assignment or duty, usually with a clear goal or end-point. Work, on the other hand, can refer to any physical or mental effort, often without a specified outcome.
A task can be seen as a subset of work. For instance, when one is at a job, the broader effort they put in is their work, but within that, they may have specific tasks they need to complete.
Both terms, task and work, imply some form of action or endeavor. However, a task often has a more definite time frame, while work can be ongoing and not necessarily tied to a deadline.
Tasks are generally more finite. Once a task is done, it's completed. Work, in contrast, can be continuous, like the work of an artist or a scientist, which evolves over time.
Tasks are typically actionable items, often short-term, and can be ticked off a list. Work can encompass a broad spectrum of activities, from daily routines to lifelong pursuits.
A specific activity or duty.
General effort or exertion.
Typically short-term with a clear endpoint.
Can be short-term or long-term and continuous.
Clear, measurable result.
May or may not have a specified result.
Job, career, artistry.
Task and Work Definitions
A mission or specific job.
Your task is to deliver this package safely.
The mechanism or operation of something.
The gears in the clock were no longer in work.
An action aiming to achieve a result.
It was his task to ensure the lights were off.
Efforts made toward a goal.
His dedication to charity is admirable work.
A unit of work in computing, often initiated by a user.
The computer executed multiple tasks simultaneously.
Physical or mental effort or activity directed toward the production or accomplishment of something
Cleaning the basement was a lot of work.
A piece of work assigned or done as part of one's duties.
Such effort or activity by which one makes a living; employment
Looking for work.
A difficult or tedious undertaking
Finding qualified people to fill these specialized roles was a real task.
A trade, profession, or other means of livelihood
His work is fixing cars.
A function to be performed; an objective
It is our task to renew consumer confidence.
The part of a day devoted to an occupation or undertaking
Met her after work.
To assign a task to or impose a task on
The agency was tasked with creating an advertising campaign.
One's place of employment
Should I call you at home or at work?.
(Archaic) To subject to strain or hardship
"The Professor's household was a modest one, and yet it tasked his ideas to keep it up to his wife's standard" (Edith Wharton).
Something that one is doing, making, or performing, especially as an occupation or undertaking; a duty or task
Begin the day's work.
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.
An amount of such activity either done or required
A week's work.
Any piece of work done.
The action or effect of an agency
The antibiotic seems to be doing its work.
A difficult or tedious undertaking.
Something that has been produced or accomplished through the effort, activity, or agency of a person or thing
This scheme was the work of a criminal mastermind. Erosion is the work of wind, water, and time.
An act; a deed
"I have seen all the works that are done under the sun.
And, behold, all is vanity" (Ecclesiastes 1:14).
(computing) A process or execution of a program.
The user killed the frozen task.
An artistic creation, such as a painting, sculpture, or literary or musical composition, or a creative result of other human activity
An early work of Matisse.
A scholarly work of great importance.
(obsolete) A tax or charge.
Works The output of a writer, artist, or composer considered or collected as a whole
The works of Bach.
(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.
Works Engineering structures, such as bridges or dams.
(transitive) To oppress with severe or excessive burdens; to tax
A fortified structure, such as a trench or fortress.
(transitive) To charge, as with a fault.
Needlework, weaving, lacemaking, or a similar textile art.
Labor or study imposed by another, often in a definite quantity or amount.
Ma task of servile toil.
Each morning sees some task begin,Each evening sees it close.
A piece of such textile art.
Business; employment; undertaking; labor.
His mental powers were equal to greater tasks.
A material or piece of material being processed in a machine during manufacture
Work to be turned in the lathe.
To impose a task upon; to assign a definite amount of business, labor, or duty to.
There task thy maids, and exercise the loom.
Works (used with a sing. or pl. verb) A factory, plant, or similar building or complex of buildings where a specific type of business or industry is carried on. Often used in combination
To oppress with severe or excessive burdens; to tax.
Works Internal mechanism
The works of a watch.
To charge; to tax, as with a fault.
Too impudent to task me with those errors.
The manner, style, or quality of working or treatment; workmanship.
Any piece of work that is undertaken or attempted;
He prepared for great undertakings
Abbr. w(Physics) The transfer of energy from one physical system to another, especially the application of a force to move a body in a certain direction. It is calculated as the product of the force and the distance over which it is applied and is expressed in joules, ergs, and foot-pounds.
A specific piece of work required to be done as a duty or for a specific fee;
Estimates of the city's loss on that job ranged as high as a million dollars
The job of repairing the engine took several hours
The endless task of classifying the samples
The farmer's morning chores
Works Moral or righteous acts or deeds
Salvation by faith rather than works.
Assign a task to;
I tasked him with looking after the children
(Informal) The full range of possibilities; everything. Used with the
Ordered a pizza with the works.
Use to the limit;
You are taxing my patience
(Slang) A thorough beating or other severe treatment. Used with the
Took him outside and gave him the works.
A piece of work to be done or undertaken.
Her task for the day was to organize the files.
Of, relating to, designed for, or engaged in work.
A duty or responsibility.
The main task of the lifeguard is to ensure everyone's safety.
To exert oneself physically or mentally in order to do, make, or accomplish something.
To be employed; have a job.
To function; operate
How does this latch work?.
To function or operate in the desired or required way
The telephone hasn't worked since the thunderstorm.
To have a given effect or outcome
Our friendship works best when we speak our minds.
To have the desired effect or outcome; prove successful
This recipe seems to work.
To exert an influence. Used with on or upon
Worked on her to join the group.
To arrive at a specified condition through gradual or repeated movement
The stitches worked loose.
To proceed or progress slowly and laboriously
Worked through the underbrush.
Worked through my problems in therapy.
To move in an agitated manner, as with emotion
Her mouth worked with fear.
To behave in a specified way when handled or processed
Not all metals work easily.
To strain in heavy seas so that the joints give slightly and the fastenings become slack. Used of a boat or ship.
To sail against the wind.
To undergo small motions that result in friction and wear
The gears work against each other.
To cause or effect; bring about
To cause to operate or function; actuate, use, or manage
Worked the controls.
Can work a lathe.
To shape or forge
"Each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor" (Edgar Allan Poe).
To make or decorate by needlework
Work a sampler.
To solve (a problem) by calculation and reasoning.
To knead, stir, or otherwise manipulate in preparation
Work the dough before shaping it.
To bring to a specified condition by gradual or repeated effort or work
Finally worked the window open.
Worked the slaves to death.
To make, achieve, or pay for by work or effort
Worked her way to the top.
Worked his passage on the ship.
(Informal) To arrange or contrive. Often used with it
Worked it so that her weekends are free.
To make productive; cultivate
Work a farm.
To cause to work
Works his laborers hard.
To excite or provoke
Worked the mob into a frenzy.
To gratify, cajole, or enchant artfully, especially for the purpose of influencing
The politician worked the crowd. The comedian worked the room with flawless rhythm.
To use or manipulate to one's own advantage; exploit
Learned how to work the system.
Worked his relatives for sympathy.
To carry on an operation or function in or through
The agent who works that area.
Working the phones for donations.
To ferment (liquor, for example).
Labour, occupation, job.
My work involves a lot of travel.
The place where one is employed.
He hasn’t come home yet; he’s still at work.
(by extension) One's employer.
I want to go to the reunion concert, but I'm not sure if my work will give me the time off.
(dated) A factory; a works.
Effort expended on a particular task.
Holding a brick over your head is hard work. It takes a lot of work to write a dictionary.
Sustained human effort to overcome obstacles and achieve a result.
We know what we must do. Let's go to work.
We don't have much time. Let's get to work piling up those sandbags.
Something on which effort is expended.
There's lots of work waiting for me at the office.
(physics) A measure of energy expended in moving an object; most commonly, force times distance. No work is done if the object does not move.
Work is done against friction to drag a bag along the ground.
A measure of energy that is usefully extracted from a process.
(heading) Product; the result of effort.
The result of a particular manner of production.
There's a lot of guesswork involved.
Something produced using the specified material or tool.
We've got some paperwork to do before we can get started. The piece was decorated with intricate filigree work.
(countable) A literary, artistic, or intellectual production.
It is a work of art.
The poetic works of Alexander Pope
(countable) A fortification.
William the Conqueror fortified many castles, throwing up new ramparts, bastions and all manner of works.
The staging of events to appear as real.
(mining) Ore before it is dressed.
The equipment needed to inject a drug (syringes, needles, swabs etc.)
Tell me you're using clean works at least.
(intransitive) To do a specific task by employing physical or mental powers.
He’s working in a bar.
Followed by in (or at, etc.) Said of one's workplace (building), or one's department, or one's trade (sphere of business).
I work in a national park
She works in the human resources department
He mostly works in logging, but sometimes works in carpentry
Followed by as. Said of one's job title
I work as a cleaner.
Followed by for. Said of a company or individual who employs.
She works for Microsoft
He works for the president
Followed by with. General use, said of either fellow employees or instruments or clients.
I work closely with my Canadian counterparts
You work with computers
She works with the homeless people from the suburbs
(intransitive) To effect by gradual degrees;
To work into the earth
(transitive) To effect by gradual degrees.
He worked his way through the crowd
The dye worked its way through
Using some tweezers, she worked the bee sting out of her hand
(transitive) To embroider with thread.
(transitive) To set into action.
He worked the levers.
(transitive) To cause to ferment.
(intransitive) To ferment.
(transitive) To exhaust, by working.
The mine was worked until the last scrap of ore had been extracted.
(transitive) To shape, form, or improve a material.
He used pliers to work the wire into shape.
(transitive) To operate in a certain place, area, or speciality.
She works the night clubs
The salesman works the Midwest
(transitive) To operate in or through; as, to work the phones.
(transitive) To provoke or excite; to influence.
The rock musician worked the crowd of young girls into a frenzy.
(transitive) To use or manipulate to one’s advantage.
She knows how to work the system.
To cause to happen or to occur as a consequence.
I cannot work a miracle.
(transitive) To cause to work.
He is working his servants hard.
(intransitive) To function correctly; to act as intended; to achieve the goal designed for.
He pointed at the car and asked, "Does it work"?;
He looked at the bottle of pain pills, wondering if they would work;
My plan didn’t work
They worked on her to join the group.
(intransitive) To move in an agitated manner.
His fingers worked with tension.
A ship works in a heavy sea.
(intransitive) To behave in a certain way when handled
This dough does not work easily;
The soft metal works well
To cause (someone) to feel (something); to do unto somebody (something, whether good or bad).
To hurt; to ache.
To pull off; to wear, perform, etc. successfully or to advantage.
I would never have thought those pieces would go together, but she is working it like nobody's business.
Exertion of strength or faculties; physical or intellectual effort directed to an end; industrial activity; toil; employment; sometimes, specifically, physical labor.
Man hath his daily work of body or mindAppointed.
The matter on which one is at work; that upon which one spends labor; material for working upon; subject of exertion; the thing occupying one; business; duty; as, to take up one's work; to drop one's work.
Come on, Nerissa; I have work in handThat you yet know not of.
In every work that he began . . . he did it with all his heart, and prospered.
That which is produced as the result of labor; anything accomplished by exertion or toil; product; performance; fabric; manufacture; in a more general sense, act, deed, service, effect, result, achievement, feat.
To leave no rubs or blotches in the work.
The work some praise,And some the architect.
Fancy . . . Wild work produces oft, and most in dreams.
The composition or dissolution of mixed bodies . . . is the chief work of elements.
Specifically: (a) That which is produced by mental labor; a composition; a book; as, a work, or the works, of Addison. (b) Flowers, figures, or the like, wrought with the needle; embroidery.
I am glad I have found this napkin; . . . I'll have the work ta'en out,And give 't Iago.
Structures in civil, military, or naval engineering, as docks, bridges, embankments, trenches, fortifications, and the like; also, the structures and grounds of a manufacturing establishment; as, iron works; locomotive works; gas works.
Manner of working; management; treatment; as, unskillful work spoiled the effect.
The causing of motion against a resisting force. The amount of work is proportioned to, and is measured by, the product of the force into the amount of motion along the direction of the force. See Conservation of energy, under Conservation, Unit of work, under Unit, also Foot pound, Horse power, Poundal, and Erg.
Energy is the capacity of doing work . . . Work is the transference of energy from one system to another.
Ore before it is dressed.
Performance of moral duties; righteous conduct.
He shall reward every man according to his works.
Faith, if it hath not works, is dead.
The causing of motion against a resisting force, measured by the product of the force into the component of the motion resolved along the direction of the force.
Energy is the capacity of doing work. . . . Work is the transference of energy from one system to another.
Ore before it is dressed.
To exert one's self for a purpose; to put forth effort for the attainment of an object; to labor; to be engaged in the performance of a task, a duty, or the like.
O thou good Kent, how shall I live and work,To match thy goodness?
Go therefore now, and work; for there shall no straw be given you.
Whether we work or play, or sleep or wake,Our life doth pass.
Hence, in a general sense, to operate; to act; to perform; as, a machine works well.
We bend to that the working of the heart.
Hence, figuratively, to be effective; to have effect or influence; to conduce.
We know that all things work together for good to them that love God.
This so wrought upon the child, that afterwards he desired to be taught.
She marveled how she could ever have been wrought upon to marry him.
To carry on business; to be engaged or employed customarily; to perform the part of a laborer; to labor; to toil.
They that work in fine flax . . . shall be confounded.
To be in a state of severe exertion, or as if in such a state; to be tossed or agitated; to move heavily; to strain; to labor; as, a ship works in a heavy sea.
Confused with working sands and rolling waves.
To make one's way slowly and with difficulty; to move or penetrate laboriously; to proceed with effort; - with a following preposition, as down, out, into, up, through, and the like; as, scheme works out by degrees; to work into the earth.
Till body up to spirit work, in boundsProportioned to each kind.
To ferment, as a liquid.
The working of beer when the barm is put in.
To act or operate on the stomach and bowels, as a cathartic.
Purges . . . work best, that is, cause the blood so to do, . . . in warm weather or in a warm room.
To labor or operate upon; to give exertion and effort to; to prepare for use, or to utilize, by labor.
He could have told them of two or three gold mines, and a silver mine, and given the reason why they forbare to work them at that time.
To produce or form by labor; to bring forth by exertion or toil; to accomplish; to originate; to effect; as, to work wood or iron into a form desired, or into a utensil; to work cotton or wool into cloth.
Each herb he knew, that works or good or ill.
To produce by slow degrees, or as if laboriously; to bring gradually into any state by action or motion.
So the pure, limpid stream, when foul with stainsOf rushing torrents and descending rains,Works itself clear, and as it runs, refines,Till by degrees the floating mirror shines.
To influence by acting upon; to prevail upon; to manage; to lead.
To form with a needle and thread or yarn; especially, to embroider; as, to work muslin.
To set in motion or action; to direct the action of; to keep at work; to govern; to manage; as, to work a machine.
Knowledge in building and working ships.
Now, Marcus, thy virtue's the proof;Put forth thy utmost strength, work every nerve.
The mariners all 'gan work the ropes,Where they were wont to do.
To cause to ferment, as liquor.
Tears of joy for your returning spilt,Work out and expiate our former guilt.
The sun, that rolls his chariot o'er their heads,Works up more fire and color in their cheeks.
Activity directed toward making or doing something;
She checked several points needing further work
A product produced or accomplished through the effort or activity or agency of a person or thing;
It is not regarded as one of his more memorable works
The symphony was hailed as an ingenious work
He was indebted to the pioneering work of John Dewey
The work of an active imagination
Erosion is the work of wind or water over time
The occupation for which you are paid;
He is looking for employment
A lot of people are out of work
Applying the mind to learning and understanding a subject (especially by reading);
Mastering a second language requires a lot of work
No schools offer graduate study in interior design
The total output of a writer or artist (or a substantial part of it);
He studied the entire Wagnerian oeuvre
Picasso's work can be divided into periods
A place where work is done;
He arrived at work early today
(physics) a manifestation of energy; the transfer of energy from one physical system to another expressed as the product of a force and the distance through which it moves a body in the direction of that force;
Work equals force times distance
Exert oneself by doing mental or physical work for a purpose or out of necessity;
I will work hard to improve my grades
She worked hard for better living conditions for the poor
Is your husband working again?
My wife never worked
Do you want to work after the age of 60?
She never did any work because she inherited a lot of money
She works as a waitress to put herself through college
Have an effect or outcome; often the one desired or expected;
The voting process doesn't work as well as people thought
How does your idea work in practice?
This method doesn't work
The breaks of my new car act quickly
The medicine works only if you take it with a lot of water
Perform as expected when applied;
The washing machine won't go unless it's plugged in
Does this old car still run well?
This old radio doesn't work anymore
Shape, form, or improve a material;
Work stone into tools
Work the metal
Give a work-out to;
Some parents exercise their infants
My personal trainer works me hard
Work one's muscles
Proceed along a path;
Work one's way through the crowd
Make one's way into the forest
Operate in a certain place, area, or specialty;
She works the night clubs
The salesman works the Midwest
This artist works mostly in acrylics
Proceed towards a goal or along a path or through an activity;
Work your way through every problem or task
She was working on her second martini when the guests arrived
Start from the bottom and work towards the top
Move in an agitated manner;
His fingers worked with tension
Cause to happen or to occur as a consequence;
I cannot work a miracle
Play a joke
The rain brought relief to the drought-stricken area
Cause to work;
He is working his servants hard
Prepare for crops;
Work the soil
Cultivate the land
Behave in a certain way when handled;
This dough does not work easily
The soft metal works well
Have and exert influence or effect;
The artist's work influenced the young painter
She worked on her friends to support the political candidate
Operate in or through;
Work the phones
Cause to operate or function;
This pilot works the controls
Can you work an electric drill?
Provoke or excite;
The rock musician worked the crowd of young girls into a frenzy
Gratify and charm, usually in order to influence;
The political candidate worked the crowds
Make something, usually for a specific function;
She molded the riceballs carefully
Form cylinders from the dough
Shape a figure
Work the metal into a sword
Move into or onto;
Work the raisins into the dough
The student worked a few jokes into his presentation
Work the body onto the flatbed truck
Work the clay until it is soft
Use or manipulate to one's advantage;
He exploit the new taxation system
She knows how to work the system
He works his parents for sympathy
Find the solution to (a problem or question) or understand the meaning of;
Did you solve the problem?
Work out your problems with the boss
This unpleasant situation isn't going to work itself out
Did you get it?
Did you get my meaning?
He could not work the math problem
Cause to undergo fermentation;
We ferment the grapes for a very long time to achieve high alcohol content
The vintner worked the wine in big oak vats
Go sour or spoil;
The milk has soured
The wine worked
The cream has turned--we have to throw it out
Arrive at a certain condition through repeated motion;
The stitches of the hem worked loose after she wore the skirt many times
Activity involving mental or physical effort.
He found work in construction.
A job or occupation.
She started her new work at the bank.
The result of an action or endeavor.
The sculpture is a work of art.
Is a Task always short-term?
While tasks often have a clear end-point and are short-term, they can sometimes span longer durations.
Is there always a measurable outcome with Work?
No, work can be continuous without a definite measurable outcome.
What is a Task?
A task is a specific activity or duty, usually with a clear goal.
Can a job be both a Task and Work?
Yes, a job can be viewed as work in general, but within that job, there can be specific tasks to be completed.
How does the scope of a Task differ from Work?
A task usually has a narrower, specific scope, while work can encompass a broader range of activities.
How is a Task different in computing?
In computing, a task often refers to a specific unit of work initiated by a system or user.
Can Work be both a noun and a verb?
Yes, 'work' can refer to an activity (noun) or the act of doing something (verb).
Is every Task considered Work?
Yes, tasks are subsets of work as they require effort, but not all work can be broken down into specific tasks.
What does Work refer to?
Work refers to any general physical or mental effort, often without a specified outcome.
How does a Task relate to goals?
Tasks are often actionable items set to achieve specific goals or outcomes.
Can 'work' imply a continuous process?
Yes, work can be an ongoing process, like research or artistic creation.
Can the word 'work' refer to a piece of art?
Yes, a piece of art can be referred to as a 'work' or 'work of art'.
Does every Task require effort?
Generally, yes, a task implies some form of action or effort to reach completion.
Can multiple tasks be part of a single project?
Yes, a single project can consist of multiple tasks that contribute to its completion.
Written bySawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.
Edited bySumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.