Work is an essential concept in philosophy, sociology, economics and many other sciences. Its etymology, as you will soon discover, is, moreover, rather original and interesting. But first, let us agree on what the word work means.
Definitions of work (Dictionary of the French Academy, 8th edition):
1. To labor, to apply to a task, to make a sustained effort to do something; it is said of the Mind as of the body.
2. it is also said of the manner in which the work is done. It also designates the work that is to be done or that is being worked on at present.
3. in the plural is used to designate a series of studies, operations, or undertakings.
4. the action of the forces of nature. It is also said of the operations of nature in childbirth, of the pains of childbirth.
5. – In terms of mechanics, it refers to the product of a force applied to a point. – In terms of political economy, it refers to human labor considered as an essential factor of production. – In terms of jurisprudence, it designates the human Labor considered under the report of the conflicts which it raises and of the regulations which it is necessary to bring there. – In terms of the riding school, it refers to the exercises that one makes a horse do.
General and therefore approximate definition of work in philosophy:
The activity of transforming nature in a direction useful to man, with a view to the satisfaction of needs.
The etymology of the word work:
— from Low Latin, 6th century, tripálĭus from Latin tripálĭum: “three-beamed instrument of torture” – Twelfth century, Old French travail: “torment, suffering” – The popular Latin word“Trifolium” referred to an instrument of immobilization (and possibly torture) with three stakes. – “Travail” still refers to a device used to immobilize restive horses for shoeing or grooming. – The word “labor” is used to refer to the condition of a person who is in pain (this is the case even now during childbirth). – It was then extended to occupations requiring painful efforts, those of the “men of toil”, then to all the activities of production.
The word work finds its etymology in the Latin Tribolium, an instrument of torture