How to pronounce


To pronounce "working" correctly, let's break it down into its sounds and look at the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) transcriptions for both British and American pronunciations:

  • American Pronunciation: /ˈwɜrkɪŋ/
    • Starts with the /w/ sound, where you round your lips without adding any vocal chord vibration.
    • Followed by the /ɜr/ sound, which is like the 'ur' in 'nurse'. Your tongue is in a mid-central, unstressed position, and your lips are unrounded.
    • The /k/ sound comes next, created by briefly stopping the airflow with the back of your tongue against the soft palate.
    • Ends with the /ɪŋ/ sound, a combination of a short, relaxed 'i' as in 'sit', and the 'ng' sound made by pressing the back of your tongue against the soft palate.
  • British Pronunciation: /ˈwɜːkɪŋ/
    • Similar to the American pronunciation, but the /ɜː/ sound is slightly longer, without the 'r' sound being pronounced.

Definition of


  • Working (adj): Relating to, used for, or engaged in work.
  • Working (n): The act of doing work; the operation or activity of someone or something that works.

What does it mean


The word "working" comes from the Old English weorc or werc, meaning "something done, discreet act performed, deed; military fortification," from Proto-Germanic werkam (source also of Old Saxon werc, Old Norse verk, Middle Dutch werc, Old High German werah, German Werk, Gothic gawaurki), from PIE root werg- "to do." The meaning specific to "labor as an economic function" emerged in Old English. The verb form "to work" has been in use since the 10th century, with "working" as its present participle and gerund form.

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