work for (someone or something)
1. To be an employee of some person, group, or organization. I worked for my father for three years before I had enough money to go to college. I used to work for Stem Corp. for a few years before getting a job with Flem Corp. I never like working for the government—too much responsibility with not enough pay.
2. To work in exchange for something, as a sum or salary of money. Never do commissions for anyone who wants you to work for exposure as opposed to a proper fee. I offered to work for food and supplies, since they didn't have any money to pay me. I'm not willing to work for less than $60,000 a year.
3. To have a particular goal, cause, or purpose at the heart of one's labor. We've been working for a peaceful resolution to the conflict for nearly two years now. The last administration worked for a trade deal that would benefit both countries.
4. To act as a representative of or work on behalf of someone or some group. Our firm works for veterans who have been left behind by the system. I spend every Saturday working pro bono for those who can't afford legal representation.
5. To be appropriate or effective for some particular purpose. That trick only works for computer running their previous operating system. This lotion is meant to treat hives, but it will work for mosquito bites, too.
6. To be suitable, acceptable, or appropriate for someone or something. Sorry, those times really don't work for me. A: "We'd be willing to offer your company an extra $2 million to settle the case immediately." B: "Yes, that works for us."
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
work for someone
1. to be employed by someone. She works for Scott Wallace. Who do you work for?
2. . to work as a substitute for someone. I will work for you while you are having your baby. Right now, I am working for Julie, who is out sick.
work for something
1. to work for a group, company, etc. Everyone at the picnic works for the same employer. We work for the telephone company.
2. . to work for a certain amount of money. She says she works for a very good wage. I won't work for that kind of pay.
3. to work for an intangible benefit, such as satisfaction, glory, honor, etc. The pay isn't very good. I just work for the fun of it. Sam says he works for the joy of working.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
1. To be employed by or work on behalf of someone or some organization: I've worked for the government for the past ten years. I started my own company, so now I work for myself.
2. To provide labor in exchange for something: The traveler didn't want any money; he said he would work for food.
3. To work on behalf of some cause: Our organization works for the humane treatment of animals.
4. To function or operate correctly when used by someone: The VCR always seems to work for me, but whenever someone else tries it, it freezes up. They should stick with the same strategy, because it worked for them last year.
5. To function or operate correctly when used for some purpose: The bug spray only works for mosquitoes.
6. To meet the requirements of someone; fit someone: Unless it has three bedrooms, I don't think the house will work for us. Can we find a restaurant that works for all of us?
7. To be appropriate for someone; befit someone: I'm not sure that color works for you.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.