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Meaning of task in English

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task noun ( WORK )

  • act as something
  • all work and no play (makes Jack a dull boy) idiom
  • be at work idiom
  • hot-desking
  • housekeeping
  • in the line of duty idiom
  • short-handed
  • short-staffed
  • undertaking

task noun ( SPEAK ANGRILY )

  • all-points bulletin
  • boss someone around
  • put something on
  • self-ordained
  • shove someone around
  • stick out for something

task | Intermediate English

Task | business english, examples of task, collocations with task.

These are words often used in combination with task .

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tasks verb meaning

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  • task (WORK)
  • task (SPEAK ANGRILY)
  • take someone to task
  • Intermediate    Noun
  • take sb/sth to task (over sth)
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Definition of 'task'

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task in American English

Task in british english, examples of 'task' in a sentence task, more idioms containing task, related word partners task, trends of task.

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Browse alphabetically task

  • task a team with
  • task completion
  • All ENGLISH words that begin with 'T'

Related terms of task

  • boring task
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  • 1.1.1 Pronunciation
  • 1.1.2.1 Usage notes
  • 1.1.2.2 Synonyms
  • 1.1.2.3 Derived terms
  • 1.1.2.4 Translations
  • 1.1.3.1 Translations
  • 1.3 Anagrams
  • 2.1.1 Declension
  • 2.1.2 See also
  • 2.1.3 References

English [ edit ]

Etymology 1 [ edit ].

From Middle English taske ( “ task, tax ” ) , from Old Northern French tasque , (compare Old French variant tasche ), from Medieval Latin tasca , alteration of taxa , from Latin taxāre ( “ censure; charge ” ) . Doublet of tax .

Pronunciation [ edit ]

  • ( Received Pronunciation ) enPR : täsk , IPA ( key ) : /tɑːsk/
  • ( General American ) enPR : tăsk , IPA ( key ) : /tæsk/
  • Rhymes: -æsk , -ɑːsk

Noun [ edit ]

task ( plural tasks )

  • 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.
  • 2013 July 19, Ian Sample , “ Irregular bedtimes may affect children's brains ”, in The Guardian Weekly , volume 189 , number 6, page 34 : Irregular bedtimes may disrupt healthy brain development in young children, according to a study of intelligence and sleeping habits.  ¶ Going to bed at a different time each night affected girls more than boys, but both fared worse on mental tasks than children who had a set bedtime, researchers found.
  • 2013 August 10, “ A new prescription ”, in The Economist , volume 408 , number 8848 : As the world's drug habit shows, governments are failing in their quest to monitor every London window-box and Andean hillside for banned plants. But even that Sisyphean task looks easy next to the fight against synthetic drugs. No sooner has a drug been blacklisted than chemists adjust their recipe and start churning out a subtly different one.
  • An objective .
  • ( computing ) A process or execution of a program. The user killed the frozen task .
  • 1593 , anonymous author , The Life and Death of Iacke Straw   [ … ] , Act I : Art thou the Collector of the Kings taske ? [ … ] Thou haſt thy taske money for all that be heere, [ … ]

Usage notes [ edit ]

  • Adjectives often applied to "task": difficult, easy, simple, hard, tough, complex, not-so-easy, challenging, complicated, tricky, formidable, arduous, laborious, onerous, small, big, huge, enormous, tremendous, gigantic, mammoth, colossal, gargantuan, social, intellectual, theological, important, basic, trivial, unpleasant, demanding, pleasant, noble, painful, grim, responsible, rewarding, boring, ungrateful, delightful, glorious, agreeable.

Synonyms [ edit ]

  • ( piece of work ) : chore , job
  • ( difficult undertaking ) : undertaking
  • ( objective ) : objective , goal
  • ( process ) : process

Derived terms [ edit ]

  • call to task
  • multitasking
  • Sally-Anne task
  • Sternberg task
  • take to task
  • task manager
  • task-negative
  • task-oriented
  • task-positive

Verb [ edit ]

task ( third-person singular simple present tasks , present participle tasking , simple past and past participle tasked )

  • 1610–1611 (date written), William Shakespeare , “ The Tempest ”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies   [ … ] ( First Folio ), London: [ … ] Isaac Iaggard , and Ed [ ward ] Blount , published 1623 , →OCLC , [Act I, scene ii]: All hail, great master! grave sir, hail! I come / To answer thy best pleasure; be't to fly, / To swim, to dive into the fire, to ride / On the curl'd clouds, to thy strong bidding task / Ariel and all his quality.
  • a. 1701 (date written), John Dryden , “The Last Parting of Hector and Andromache . From the Sixth Book of the Iliad .”, in The Miscellaneous Works of John Dryden,   [ … ] , volume IV, London: [ … ] J [ acob ] and R [ ichard ] Tonson ,   [ … ] , published 1760 , →OCLC : There task thy maids, and exercise the loom.
  • 2021 May 19, “Network News: HS2 unearths 900 years of history in Buckinghamshire”, in RAIL , number 931 , page 23 : By 1966 the building was considered so unsafe that the Royal Engineers were tasked with demolishing it.
  • 1851 November 14, Herman Melville , chapter 36, in Moby-Dick; or, The Whale , 1st American edition, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers ; London: Richard Bentley , →OCLC : He tasks me; he heaps me; I see in him outrageous strength, with an inscrutable malice sinewing it.
  • c. 1619–1621 , John Fletcher , “ The Island Princesse ”, in Comedies and Tragedies   [ … ] , London: [ … ] Humphrey Robinson ,   [ … ] , and for Humphrey Moseley   [ … ] , published 1647 , →OCLC , Act III, scene iii: Too impudent to task me with those errors.

Etymology 2 [ edit ]

  • Alternative form of taisch

Anagrams [ edit ]

  • AKST , KTAS , Kast , askt , kast , kats , skat

Swedish [ edit ]

task   c

  • ( colloquial ) a dick (penis)

Declension [ edit ]

See also [ edit ], references [ edit ].

  • task in Svensk ordbok ( SO )
  • task in Svenska Akademiens ordlista ( SAOL )
  • task in Svenska Akademiens ordbok ( SAOB )
  • Fula Ordboken

tasks verb meaning

  • English terms derived from Proto-Indo-European
  • English terms derived from the Proto-Indo-European root *teh₂g- (touch)
  • English terms inherited from Middle English
  • English terms derived from Middle English
  • English terms derived from Old Northern French
  • English terms derived from Medieval Latin
  • English terms derived from Latin
  • English doublets
  • English 1-syllable words
  • English terms with IPA pronunciation
  • English terms with audio links
  • Rhymes:English/æsk
  • Rhymes:English/æsk/1 syllable
  • Rhymes:English/ɑːsk
  • Rhymes:English/ɑːsk/1 syllable
  • English lemmas
  • English nouns
  • English countable nouns
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  • en:Computing
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What does the verb task mean?

There are seven meanings listed in OED's entry for the verb task , one of which is labelled obsolete. See ‘Meaning & use’ for definitions, usage, and quotation evidence.

task has developed meanings and uses in subjects including

Entry status

OED is undergoing a continuous programme of revision to modernize and improve definitions. This entry has not yet been fully revised.

How common is the verb task ?

How is the verb task pronounced, british english, u.s. english, where does the verb task come from.

Earliest known use

Middle English

The earliest known use of the verb task is in the Middle English period (1150—1500).

OED's earliest evidence for task is from 1483, in the writing of William Caxton, printer, merchant, and diplomat.

It is also recorded as a noun from the Middle English period (1150—1500).

task is formed within English, by conversion.

Etymons: task n.

Nearby entries

  • Taser, n. 1972–
  • Taser, v. 1976–
  • Tasered, adj. 1976–
  • tash, n. 1894–
  • tash, v. 2003–
  • Tashi Lama, n. 1775–
  • tashlich, n. 1880–
  • Tasian, adj. & n. 1929–
  • tasimeter, n. 1878–
  • task, n. a1400–
  • task, v. 1483–
  • taskage, n. 1830–
  • taskbar, n. 1994–
  • tasker, n. a1500–
  • taskforce, n. 1927–
  • task group, n. 1943–
  • task-man, n. 1856–
  • taskmaster, n. 1530–
  • taskmastership, n. 1815–
  • taskmistress, n. 1603–
  • task-note, n. 1803–

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Meaning & use

Pronunciation, compounds & derived words, entry history for task, v..

task, v. was first published in 1910; not yet revised

task, v. was last modified in September 2023

Revision of the OED is a long-term project. Entries in oed.com which have not been revised may include:

  • corrections and revisions to definitions, pronunciation, etymology, headwords, variant spellings, quotations, and dates;
  • new senses, phrases, and quotations which have been added in subsequent print and online updates.

Revisions and additions of this kind were last incorporated into task, v. in September 2023.

Earlier versions of task, v. were published in:

OED First Edition (1910)

  • Find out more

OED Second Edition (1989)

  • View task, v. in Second Edition

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Citation details

Factsheet for task, v., browse entry.

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Definition of task noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

  • to accomplish/perform/undertake/complete a task
  • a difficult/a daunting/an impossible task
  • Getting hold of this information was no easy task (= was difficult) .
  • a thankless task (= an unpleasant one that nobody wants to do and nobody thanks you for doing)
  • The first task for the new leader is to focus on the economy.
  • The new role involves a variety of specific tasks.
  • task of doing something Detectives are now faced with the task of identifying the body.
  • task of something The government now has to take on the task of reconstruction of the country.
  • We should stop chatting and get back to the task at hand .
  • You need to concentrate on the task in hand .
  • It was a challenge to adapt this novel for the screen, but the writer proved himself equal to the task .
  • Our first task will be to set up a communications system.
  • Your duties will include setting up a new computer system.
  • They undertook a fact-finding mission in the region.
  • I’ve got various jobs around the house to do.
  • household chores
  • the task/​mission/​job/​chore of (doing) something
  • (a) daily/​day-to-day task/​duties/​job/​chore
  • (a) routine task/​duties/​mission/​job/​chore
  • (a/​an) easy/​difficult task/​mission/​job
  • (a) household/​domestic task/​duties/​job/​chore
  • to do a task/​a job/​the chores
  • to finish a task/​a mission/​a job/​the chores
  • to give somebody a task/​their duties/​a mission/​a job/​a chore
  • It was my task to wake everyone up in the morning.
  • Our first task is to set up a communications system.
  • She felt daunted by the enormity of the task ahead.
  • How do you tackle a task like that?
  • I left her to get on with the task of correcting the errors.
  • I was engaged in the delicate task of clipping the dog's claws.
  • She failed to complete the task that she had been set.
  • The primary task of the chair is to ensure the meeting runs smoothly.
  • The team have no illusions about the size of the task confronting them.
  • The unenviable task of telling my parents fell to my teacher.
  • We need to think realistically about the task ahead.
  • the simple task of making a sandwich
  • How exactly do you intend to approach this task?
  • You'll be required to do several routine tasks in the office.
  • challenging
  • take upon yourself
  • involve something
  • require something
  • fall to somebody
  • be no easy task
  • the task ahead
  • the task at hand

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noun as in job or chore, often assigned

Strongest matches

  • responsibility
  • undertaking

Strong matches

Weak matches

  • daily grind
  • fun and games
  • long row to hoe

verb as in assign, burden

Discover More

Related words.

Words related to task are not direct synonyms, but are associated with the word task . Browse related words to learn more about word associations.

noun as in special interest or pursuit

  • entertainment

noun as in matter or business to be taken care of; happening activity

  • circumstance
  • office function
  • transaction

noun as in mental weight; stress

  • Herculean task
  • accountability
  • ball and chain
  • encumbrance
  • excess baggage
  • obstruction
  • thorn in one's side

Viewing 5 / 51 related words

Example Sentences

They provide response playbooks, help assign tasks to the correct team members, and help capture records of how and when your company took action.

The beauty of it all is that once your papers are organized, your space is cleaner and your tasks are accomplished quicker.

A hashtag challenge is a unique TikTok’s content format where brands ask users to post a certain task using a specific hashtag.

Today’s technologies aren’t up to the task of deep decarbonization.

You can also right-click on the app and choose End task from there.

In 2011 LGBT media outlet Queerty took the app to task for allegedly deleting accounts that made reference to being trans.

Detectives with a fugitive task force caught up with Polanco and a friend on a Bronx street in the early afternoon.

Sabrine is a trained lawyer, likely a helpful quality when your task is to push politicians.

It was a complex task they were asked to do, and every cultural and experiential advantage would be required.

Before dying in 1219, Marshal would begin the task of rebuilding England after decades of war.

And it was no light task, then, for six hundred men to keep the peace on a thousand miles of frontier.

Will the new issues promptly retire when their special task is over?

He sighed as he laid the papers on the table; for he thought the task would be a harder one than even his own immolation.

Having accomplished his task within three months Datto Mandi withdrew with all his men, except two who wished to settle at Pardo.

Through the beautiful, windy autumn days, he labored at his difficult task, the task of telling a story.

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On this page you'll find 126 synonyms, antonyms, and words related to task, such as: assignment, burden, business, duty, effort, and exercise.

From Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.

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Task verbs, also known as command words See the glossary definition , instruction words See the glossary definition or direction words, are an important part of an essay prompt or task description. They tell you what to do. Other types of words in a task description are content words (which give information about the topic or subject of the essay) and limiting words (which give information about the scope of the essay).

In a task description there may be more than one task verb. In fact, some of the task verbs are normally secondary, or follow up, verbs and they are indicated as such in the definitions below. "Elaborate" is one example: you can't elaborate until you have already mentioned something. If there is more than one task verb, and there often is, you must make sure that you address both parts of the question in your essay. Otherwise the task is incomplete and you will lose marks. See the examples on the task analysis page Go to the Task Analysis page .

  • Account for ... : explain the reasons for (usually a result, outocome, or something which has happened) ... : a secondary task verb;
  • Analyse: critically examine and describe the details of a topic See the glossary definition , argument See the glossary definition , proposition See the glossary definition , etc.;
  • Argue: give reasons and evidence See the glossary definition to support a point of view;
  • Assess: make a judgement about the quality, importance, or value of an argument or proposition ;
  • Cite: quote a source in support of your arguments : see more on the quoting and citing Go to the Quoting and Citing page : a secondary task verb;
  • Clarify: make something clearer by simplifying or using examples or analogies : a secondary task verb;
  • Classify: arrange items into groups according to their features : see more on the classification Go to the Classification page ;
  • Comment (on): state your opinion about something mentioned in the task description, supported by evidence, examples or analogies See the glossary definition : a secondary task verb;
  • Compare: examine similarities and differences between items specified in a task description : see more on the comparison and contrast Go to the Comparison and Contrast page;
  • Consider: State your thoughts and opinions about whatever is mentioned in the task description and give reasons for your opinions;
  • Contrast: highlight differences between two or more things specified in a task description : see more on the comparison and contrast Go to the Comparison and Contrast page;
  • Criticise: give your reasoned judgement about the value of something - criticism may be positive or negative;
  • Deduce: draw a reasoned conclusion from the facts and evidence See the glossary definition you have presented : a secondary task verb;
  • Define: clearly state the precise meaning of something specified in a task description;
  • Demonstrate: use evidence and/or examples to support and clarify something mentioned in the task description;
  • Describe: give a clear account of something mentioned in the task description in such a way that a reader might have a clear understanding of what is described;
  • Develop (argument, analysis, critique ...): give further details and support for your argument, analysis, critique, theory, proposal ... : a secondary task verb;
  • Differentiate: show the differences which exist between two entities;
  • Discuss: write critically about the important details of a topic, argument, proposition, etc. : "critically" means giving considered opinions about various aspects of the topic;
  • Elaborate: provide further information about some aspect of item(s) mentioned in the task description : a secondary task verb;
  • Enumerate: give an ordered, or possibly a numbered, list of whatever is asked in the task description : see more on the enumeration Go to the Enumeration page;
  • Examine: look carefully at something in order to learn about it and understand it: as a task verb it means to describe in detail the most important features of something and explain their use and value;
  • Explain: make something requested in the task description clear and easy to understand;
  • Explore: examine an issue from different points of view in order to have a deeper understanding of it and be able to draw some conclusions;
  • Evaluate: state your opinion about the value of the arguments, proposals, propositions etc. in the task description. Your opinions should be supported by evidence and/or reasoned argument;
  • Hypothesize: give a possible explanation for something : a secondary task verb;
  • Identify (trends, trends, patterns, features, issues, problems, ...): to find, locate in whatever the task description asks you to locate and comment on it. Your opinions should be supported by evidence and/or reasoned argument;
  • Illustrate: use evidence, examples, analogies See the glossary definition or (where appropriate) graphics to support and clarify something mentioned in the task description;
  • Indicate: point out something particular mentioned in the task description;
  • Infer: draw a conclusion about the truth of something based in the information available : a secondary task verb;
  • Justify: give reasons and/or evidence why something specified in a task description should be considered acceptable : a secondary task verb;
  • Outline: describe the main points about an argument, topic, proposition, etc.;
  • Paraphrase: summarise See the glossary definition in your own words : see more on the paraphrasing Go to the Paraphrasing page;
  • Predict: say what you think will happen in the future based on the information you have presented : a secondary task verb;
  • Propose: make a suggestion;
  • Prove: show that something is true by providing evidence and logical reasoning;
  • Recommend: suggest a particular course of action, remedy, or solution : a secondary task verb;
  • Reconcile: show how two different ideas or theories can both be acceptable or exist together : a secondary task verb;
  • Review: consider the main points of something and comment on their merits or drawbacks;
  • Specify: indicate and/or describe something particular clearly and precisely : a secondary task verb;
  • State (opinion, reason, cause, why, how, when ...) : clearly write what is requested in the task description;
  • Suggest: mention a possible course of action which a reader might consider;
  • Summarise: give an account of the main points about whatever is mentioned a the task description;
  • Support (your argument, analysis, opinion ...): give proof or evidence that your argument, analysis, opinion ... is true : a secondary task verb;
  • Synthesize: combine elements (information, theories, hypotheses See the glossary definition etc.) into a coherent summary;
  • Trace: outline the history or development of an issue, idea, or topic.

A Word about Adverbs

Verbs are often qualified by adverbs and these task verbs are no exception. In a task description you must take note of adverbs; they are there for a purpose. If the task description requires you to discuss something briefly , then it must be brief. First of all because, if your discussion is lengthy, you are not fulfilling the task requirements. Secondly, if there is a word limit, you are taking away words which you need to fulfill other task requirements. Thirdly, if the task is a time limited test, you are wasting time. Also, the ability to express key points concisely is a key skill.

Other adverbs which may occur in task descriptions are:

  • critically: (critically evaluate, assess, analyse, examine ... ) : "critically" means that you have to go beyond mere description or explanation - it means you must express your opinions about the value or validity of something (positive or negative) and give your reasons (supported by evidence from authoritative sources) for holding those opinions;
  • clearly: (clearly illustrate, indicate, identify, explain ... ) : "clearly" means in simple terms - easy to understand; you must consider your audience See the glossary definition here;
  • carefully: (carefully consider, examine, explain, assess ... ) : "carefully" means more than just with care; it means to do something in some depth and clarity;
  • systematically: (systematically analyse, examine, assess ...) : according to some rational and clear criteria.

Other words and phrases which may occur in task descriptions are:

  • To what extent ... ? : examine the limits of a proposition See the glossary definition or argument See the glossary definition : how strong is the evidence to show that something is true or false?
  • ... in relation to ... : confine your answer to the matter mentioned after the words "in relation to" : a limiting phrase;
  • ... in terms of ... : confine your answer to the matter mentioned after the words "in terms of" : a limiting phrase;
  • ... with reference to ... : your answer must be related to the matter mentioned after the words "with reference to" and you should make explicit reference to it.

See more information about task words, content words, and limiting words on the Task Analysis Page .

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Glossary of Task Words

Understanding the meaning of words, especially task words, helps you to know exactly what is being asked of you. It takes you halfway towards narrowing down your material and selecting your answer.

Task words direct you and tell you how to go about answering a question. Here is a list of such words and others that you are most likely to come across frequently in your course.

Maddox, H 1967, How to Study , 2nd ed, Pan Books, London.

Marshall, L., & Rowland, F 1998, A guide to learning independently , Addison Wesley Longman, Melbourne.

Northedge, A 1997, The good study guide , Open University, Milton Keynes, UK.

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Title: how to validate average calibration for machine learning regression tasks .

Abstract: Average calibration of the uncertainties of machine learning regression tasks can be tested in two ways. One way is to estimate the calibration error (CE) as the difference between the mean absolute error (MSE) and the mean variance (MV) or mean squared uncertainty. The alternative is to compare the mean squared z-scores or scaled errors (ZMS) to 1. Both approaches might lead to different conclusion, as illustrated on an ensemble of datasets from the recent machine learning uncertainty quantification literature. It is shown here that the CE is very sensitive to the distribution of uncertainties, and notably to the presence of outlying uncertainties, and that it cannot be used reliably for calibration testing. By contrast, the ZMS statistic does not present this sensitivity issue and offers the most reliable approach in this context. Implications for the validation of conditional calibration are discussed.

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  24. How to validate average calibration for machine learning regression tasks

    The alternative is to compare the mean squared z-scores or scaled errors (ZMS) to 1. Both approaches might lead to different conclusion, as illustrated on an ensemble of datasets from the recent machine learning uncertainty quantification literature.