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task

[task, tahsk] /tæsk, tɑsk/
noun
1.
a definite piece of work assigned to, falling to, or expected of a person; duty.
2.
any piece of work.
3.
a matter of considerable labor or difficulty.
4.
Obsolete. a tax or impost.
verb (used with object)
5.
to subject to severe or excessive labor or exertion; put a strain upon (powers, resources, etc.).
6.
to impose a task on.
7.
Obsolete. to tax.
adjective
8.
of or pertaining to a task or tasks:
A task chart will help organize the department's work.
Idioms
9.
take to task, to call to account; blame; censure:
The teacher took them to task for not doing their homework.
Origin
1250-1300
1250-1300; Middle English (noun) < Medieval Latin tasca, metathetic variant of taxa tax
Related forms
taskless, adjective
subtask, noun
untasked, adjective
Synonyms
1, 2. job, assignment. Task, chore, job, assignment refer to a definite and specific instance or act of work. Task and chore and, to a lesser extent, job often imply work that is tiresome, arduous, or otherwise unpleasant. Task usually refers to a clearly defined piece of work, sometimes of short or limited duration, assigned to or expected of a person: the task of pacifying angry customers; a difficult, time-consuming task. A chore is a minor task, usually one of several performed as part of a routine, as in farming, and often more tedious than difficult: the daily chore of taking out the garbage; early morning chores of feeding the livestock. Job is the most general of these terms, referring to almost any work or responsibility, including a person's means of earning a living: the job of washing the windows; a well-paying job in advertising. Assignment refers to a specific task allocated to a person by someone in a position of authority: a homework assignment; a reporter's assignment to cover international news.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for task
  • Action or task lists are for keeping track of all the various things you have to or want to do.
  • And the task is even more challenging when you're also trying to maintain privacy and create serenity in a bustling urban area.
  • Over the last few years, astronomers have learned how to accomplish the difficult task of directly imaging extrasolar planets.
  • With this sort of appropriate task structure, you can become a useful citizen.
  • And yet the effort seems almost pathetically inadequate to the task.
  • But by the morning, the nappers had learned the first task better.
  • Parsing the origins and early history of dinosaurs is a challenging task.
  • With a little help, it's an easier, speedier task than you might suppose.
  • Escaping the boundaries of human perspective is a fundamental task of science.
  • Still, persuading faculty members to donate their time to the oft-draining task of wooing teenagers isn't always easy.
British Dictionary definitions for task

task

/tɑːsk/
noun
1.
a specific piece of work required to be done as a duty or chore
2.
an unpleasant or difficult job or duty
3.
any piece of work
4.
take to task, to criticize or reprove
verb (transitive)
5.
to assign a task to
6.
to subject to severe strain; tax
Derived Forms
tasker, noun
taskless, adjective
Word Origin
C13: from Old French tasche, from Medieval Latin tasca, from taxa tax, from Latin taxāre to tax
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for task
n.

c.1300, "piece of work imposed as a duty," from Old North French tasque (13c., Old French tasche, Modern French tâche) "duty, tax," from Vulgar Latin *tasca "a duty, assessment," metathesis of Medieval Latin taxa, a back-formation of Latin taxare "to evaluate, estimate, assess" (see tax). General sense of "any piece of work that has to be done" is first recorded 1590s. Phrase take one to task (1680s) preserves the sense that is closer to tax.

German tasche "pocket" is from the same Vulgar Latin source (via Old High German tasca), with presumable sense evolution from "amount of work imposed by some authority," to "payment for that work," to "wages," to "pocket into which money is put," to "any pocket."

v.

"to put a strain upon," 1590s, from task (n.). Related: Tasked; tasking.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with task

task

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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8
8
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