cultivate vs work what difference

what is difference between cultivate and work



From Medieval Latin cultivātus, perfect passive participle of cultivō (till, cultivate), from cultīvus (tilled), from Latin cultus, perfect passive participle of colō (till, cultivate), which comes from earlier *quelō, from Proto-Indo-European *kʷel- (to move; to turn (around)). Cognates include Ancient Greek πέλω (pélō) and Sanskrit चरति (cárati). The same Proto-Indo-European root also gave Latin in-quil-īnus (inhabitant) and anculus (servant).


  • IPA(key): /ˈkʌltɪveɪt/
  • Hyphenation: cul‧ti‧vate


cultivate (third-person singular simple present cultivates, present participle cultivating, simple past and past participle cultivated)

  1. To grow plants, notably crops.
  2. (figuratively) To nurture; to foster; to tend.
  3. To turn or stir soil in preparation for planting.

Derived terms





  1. past participle of cultivar


Alternative forms

  • werk, werke, worke (obsolete)
  • wuk (nonstandard, AAVE)


  • (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /wɜːk/
  • (Broad Geordie) IPA(key): [wɔːk]
  • (General American) IPA(key): /wɝk/, [wɝk]
  • (NYC) IPA(key): /wɔɪk/
  • Rhymes: -ɜː(ɹ)k

Etymology 1

From Middle English work, werk, from Old English worc, weorc, ġeweorc, from Proto-Germanic *werką (work), from Proto-Indo-European *wérǵom; akin to Scots wark, Saterland Frisian Wierk, West Frisian wurk, Dutch werk, German Werk, German Low German Wark, Danish værk, Norwegian Bokmål verk, Norwegian Nynorsk verk, Swedish verk and yrke, Icelandic verk, Gothic ???????????????????????????????? (gawaurki), Ancient Greek ἔργον (érgon, work) (from ϝέργον (wérgon)), Avestan ????????????????????(vərəz, to work, to perform), Armenian գործ (gorc, work), Albanian argëtoj (entertain, reward, please). English cognates include bulwark, boulevard, energy, erg, georgic, liturgy, metallurgy, organ, surgeon, wright. Doublet of ergon.


work (countable and uncountable, plural works)

  1. (heading, uncountable) Employment.
    1. Labour, occupation, job.
      Synonyms: see Thesaurus:occupation
    2. The place where one is employed.
    3. (by extension) One’s employer.
    4. (dated) A factory; a works.
      • 1917, Platers’ Guide (page 246)
        In trials of a Martin furnace in a steel work at Remscheiden, Germany, a lining of zirconia was found in good condition after []
  2. (heading, uncountable) Effort.
    1. Effort expended on a particular task.
      Synonyms: see Thesaurus:work
    2. Sustained human effort to overcome obstacles and achieve a result.
      • The Bat—they called him the Bat. Like a bat he chose the night hours for his work of rapine; like a bat he struck and vanished, pouncingly, noiselessly; like a bat he never showed himself to the face of the day.
    3. Something on which effort is expended.
    4. (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.
    5. (physics, more generally) A measure of energy that is usefully extracted from a process.
  3. (heading) Product; the result of effort.
    1. (uncountable, often in combination) The result of a particular manner of production.
    2. (uncountable, often in combination) Something produced using the specified material or tool.
    3. (countable) A literary, artistic, or intellectual production.
      • “[…] We are engaged in a great work, a treatise on our river fortifications, perhaps? But since when did army officers afford the luxury of amanuenses in this simple republic? []
    4. (countable) A fortification.
  4. (uncountable, slang, professional wrestling) The staging of events to appear as real.
  5. (mining) Ore before it is dressed.
  6. (slang, plural only) The equipment needed to inject a drug (syringes, needles, swabs etc.)
Derived terms
  • Pijin: waka

See also

  • (product (combining form)): -ing

Etymology 2

From Middle English werken and worchen, from Old English wyrċan and wircan (Mercian), from Proto-Germanic *wurkijaną (to work), from Proto-Indo-European *werǵ- (to work). Cognate with Old Frisian werka, wirka, Old Saxon wirkian, Low German warken, Dutch werken, Old High German wurken (German wirken, werken and werkeln), Old Norse yrkja and orka, (Swedish yrka and orka), Gothic ???????????????????????????????? (waurkjan).


work (third-person singular simple present works, present participle working, simple past and past participle worked or (rare/archaic) wrought)

  1. (intransitive) To do a specific task by employing physical or mental powers.
    1. Followed by in (or at, etc.) Said of one’s workplace (building), or one’s department, or one’s trade (sphere of business).
    2. Followed by as. Said of one’s job title
    3. Followed by for. Said of a company or individual who employs.
    4. Followed by with. General use, said of either fellow employees or instruments or clients.
  2. (transitive) To effect by gradual degrees.
    • 1712, Joseph Addison, Cato, a Tragedy
      So the pure, limpid stream, when foul with stains / Of rushing torrents and descending rains, / Works itself clear, and as it runs, refines, / Till by degrees the floating mirror shines.
  3. (transitive) To embroider with thread.
  4. (transitive) To set into action.
  5. (transitive) To cause to ferment.
  6. (intransitive) To ferment.
    • 1612, Francis Bacon, Essay on Natural History
      the working of beer when the barm is put in
  7. (transitive) To exhaust, by working.
    • 1774, Edward Long, The History of Jamaica. Or, General Survey of the Antient and Modern State of that Island, volume 2, chapter 11, 240:
      They were told of a ſilver mine, that had been worked by the Spaniards, ſomewhere in the Healthſhire Hills, in St. Catharine; but they were not able to diſcover it.
  8. (transitive) To shape, form, or improve a material.
  9. (transitive) To operate in a certain place, area, or speciality.
  10. (transitive) To operate in or through; as, to work the phones.
  11. (transitive) To provoke or excite; to influence.
  12. (transitive) To use or manipulate to one’s advantage.
  13. (transitive) To cause to happen or to occur as a consequence.
  14. (transitive) To cause to work.
  15. (intransitive) To function correctly; to act as intended; to achieve the goal designed for.
  16. (intransitive, figuratively) To influence.
  17. (intransitive) To effect by gradual degrees; as, to work into the earth.
  18. (intransitive) To move in an agitated manner.
    A ship works in a heavy sea.
    • 1705, Joseph Addison, Remarks on several parts of Italy, &c., in the years 1701, 1702, 1703
      confused with working sands and rolling waves
  19. (intransitive) To behave in a certain way when handled
  20. (ditransitive, poetic) To cause (someone) to feel (something); to do unto somebody (something, whether good or bad).
    • 1885, Richard F. Burton, The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night:
      And indeed I blamed myself and sore repented me of having taken compassion on him and continued in this condition, suffering fatigue not to be described, till I said to myself, “I wrought him a weal and he requited me with my ill; by Allah, never more will I do any man a service so long as I live!”
  21. (obsolete, intransitive) To hurt; to ache.
    • 1485, Sir Thomas Malory, Le Morte d’Arthur, Book XXI:
      ‘I wolde hit were so,’ seyde the Kynge, ‘but I may nat stonde, my hede worchys so—’
  22. (slang, transitive) To pull off; to wear, perform, etc. successfully or to advantage.
Derived terms

Further reading

  • “work” in Raymond Williams, Keywords (revised), 1983, Fontana Press, page 334.


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