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"Work is less boring than amusing oneself." [Baudelaire, "Mon Coeur mis a nu," 1862]In O.E., the noun also had the sense of "fornication." Workhouse in the sense of "place where the poor or petty criminals are lodged" first appeared 1652. Works "industrial place" (usually with qualifying adj.) is attested from 1581. Work station is recorded from 1950.
The transfer of energy from one object to another, especially in order to make the second object move in a certain direction. Work is equal to the amount of force multiplied by the distance over which it is applied. If a force of 10 newtons, for example, is applied over a distance of 3 meters, the work is equal to 30 newtons per meter, or 30 joules. The unit for measuring work is the same as that for energy in any system of units, since work is simply a transfer of energy. Compare energy, power.