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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-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 | American Dictionary

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

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customer support

help and advice that a company makes available to customers when they have bought something

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Searching out and tracking down: talking about finding or discovering things

what does task verb mean

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  • task (WORK)
  • task (SPEAK ANGRILY)
  • take someone to task
  • American    Noun
  • take sb/sth to task (over sth)
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[ task , tahsk ]

Synonyms: assignment , job

  • a matter of considerable labor or difficulty.
  • Obsolete. a tax or impost.

verb (used with object)

  • to subject to severe or excessive labor or exertion; put a strain upon (powers, resources, etc.).
  • to impose a task on.
  • Obsolete. to tax.

A task chart will help organize the department's work.

  • a specific piece of work required to be done as a duty or chore
  • an unpleasant or difficult job or duty
  • any piece of work
  • take to task to criticize or reprove
  • to assign a task to
  • to subject to severe strain; tax

Discover More

Derived forms.

  • ˈtasker , noun
  • ˈtaskless , adjective

Other Words From

  • taskless adjective
  • subtask noun
  • un·tasked adjective

Word History and Origins

Origin of task 1

Idioms and Phrases

The teacher took them to task for not doing their homework.

More idioms and phrases containing task

Synonym study, 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.

Definitions and idiom definitions from Dictionary.com Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

Definition of 'task'

IPA Pronunciation Guide

task in British English

Task in american english, examples of 'task' in a sentence task, more idioms containing task, cobuild collocations task, trends of task.

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  • task a team with
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Can 'Task' Be Used as a Verb?

No one likes tasks . This is unsurprising, given that the definitions we give for this noun include “a usually assigned piece of work often to be finished within a certain time,” “subjection to adverse criticism,” and “something hard or unpleasant that has to be done.” You will rarely hear someone speak of the “lovely task” they’ve just been given. But some are not content with disliking this word based on its semantic content, and have taken additional umbrage with its use as a verb.

can task be a verb

Could have sworn there was something else we had to do...

It is uncertain exactly why this distaste for the transitive verb form of task has come about. Some possibilities are that it is seen as being new, that it is business jargon, or that it frequently is found used in the passive voice. Prohibitions against the verb are rarely found in usage and style guides, and when they are encountered few seem to take them very seriously.

task is not a verb. — Telegraph Style Book; The official guide to house style for The Daily Telegraph , (https://www.telegraph.co.uk/style-book/t/) Ronald Koeman tasked with resuscitating mediocre Dutch national team and own management career — (headline) The Daily Telegraph (London, Eng.), 22 Mar. 2018 A unit of US special forces tasked with carrying out “decapitation” operations may be aboard a nuclear-powered submarine docked in the South Korean port of Busan, the nation’s newswire reported on Monday, citing a defence source. — The Daily Telegraph (London, Eng.), 17 Oct. 2017 Pippa Grange, 47, is tasked with changing the culture and mindset of England teams, and increasing their “psychological resilience” to the pressure of winning critical matches.… — The Daily Telegraph (London, Eng.), 4 Jan. 2018

Task is not a new verb. In fact, it has been verbing along since the 14th century, used with the meaning of “to assign a task to.” It also has an obsolete sense of “to impose a tax on,” and an additional current meaning of “to oppress with great labor.” The word has shown an increase in use of late, particularly in business writing (a form of English many people take great dislike to), but getting tasked with something is commonly found in military use from at least the 1960s.

One consolidated handbook covering the subjects of welfare organizations, pay and allowances, allotments, travel, shipment of household effects, overseas duty stations, disabilitv separation, retirement, promotion, reenlistment benefits, medical care, survivors' benefits-and others-would answer the prayers of those tasked with these additional duties. — Leatherneck (Quantico, VA), Oct. 1963 The platoon is tasked to conduct a two-week platoon sweep between Hue and Danang with the objective of eliminating all enemy forces within the Hue-Danang axis, the bush country as well as Route One. — Marine Corps Gazette , May 1970 Responsibility for delivering the food to Yuma was tasked to Marine Aerial Refueler-Transport Squadron 252. — Leatherneck (Quantico, VA), Jul. 1971

This particular turn of phrase did not originate with the military, and may be seen on occasion in much earlier examples.

The establishment involved immense expenses, and responsibilities, and was tasked with the transmission not only of intelligence, but of immense amounts of exchanges. — Niles’ National Register (Baltimore, MD), 19 Dec. 1846 It was impossible for me to write a line all this week, as I was on every committee which was tasked with receiving and entertaining Benjamin Harrison, President of the United States. — The American Israelite (Cincinnati, OH), 7 May 1891

It is fine with us if you wish to avoid using the passive voice in your writing, and we also have no problem with you eschewing the use of task as a verb. But any decent peeve should have a solid foundation, and saying that task is not a verb is deficient in that regard. Perhaps you could go with the old standby of “I just hate that word.”

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Task verbs, also known as command words A verb used in the description of a writing task to define what is required in the task. more... , instruction words A verb used in the description of a writing task to define what is required in the task. more... 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 The subject matter of a paragraph, section, essay, report, etc. more... , argument A statement used with reasoning and, usually, evidence to show that something is true. more... , proposition An opinion, an idea, a suggestion, or a thesis which you intend to defend with evidence, argument and examples in your writing. more.. , etc.;
  • Argue: give reasons and evidence Information presented as support for the truth of an argument. more... 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 The use of a comparison between things which share some similar features in order to make an explanation clearer. more... : 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 Information presented as support for the truth of an argument. more... 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 The use of a comparison between things which share some similar features in order to make an explanation clearer. more... 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 To give an account of the main points about whatever is mentioned a the task description. more... 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 An idea which is open to testing and which can be refuted through demonstration or experiment. more... 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 The person or people you as a writer expect will read your text. more... 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 An opinion, an idea, a suggestion, or a thesis which you intend to defend with evidence, argument and examples in your writing. more... or argument A statement used with reasoning and, usually, evidence to show that something is true. more... : 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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Definition of task noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary

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Look up any word in the dictionary offline, anytime, anywhere with the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary app.

what does task verb mean

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 this entry were published in:

OED First Edition (1910)

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OED Second Edition (1989)

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Citation details

Factsheet for task, v., browse entry.

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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.

Essay and assignment writing guide

  • Essay writing basics
  • Essay and assignment planning
  • Complex assignment questions
  • Glossary of task words
  • Editing checklist
  • Writing a critical review
  • Annotated bibliography
  • Reflective writing
  • ^ More support

Scholarly Resources 4 Students | scite.ai 21 May 2024

Discover your Library: Main Library 21 May 2024

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Definitions.net

  Vocabulary      

What does task mean?

Definitions for task tæsk, tɑsk task, this dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word task ., princeton's wordnet rate this definition: 5.0 / 2 votes.

undertaking, project, task, labor noun

any piece of work that is undertaken or attempted

"he prepared for great undertakings"

job, task, chore verb

a specific piece of work required to be done as a duty or for a specific fee

"estimates of the city's loss on that job ranged as high as a million dollars"; "the job of repairing the engine took several hours"; "the endless task of classifying the samples"; "the farmer's morning chores"

assign a task to

"I tasked him with looking after the children"

tax, task verb

use to the limit

"you are taxing my patience"

Wiktionary Rate this definition: 3.5 / 2 votes

A piece of work done as part of one's duties.

A difficult or tedious undertaking.

An objective.

A process or execution of a program.

To assign a task to, or impose a task on.

Etymology: From tasque, variant of tasche, from tasca, alteration of taxa, from taxare.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary Rate this definition: 0.0 / 0 votes

Etymology: tasche, French; tassa, Italian.

Relieves me from my task of servile toil Daily in the common prison else enjoin’d me. John Milton.

His mental powers were equal to greater tasks. Francis Atterbury.

No happier task these faded eyes pursue, To read and weep is all they now can do. Alexander Pope.

A holy man took a soldier to task upon the subject of his profession. Roger L'Estrange.

He discovered some remains of his nature when he met with a foot-ball, for which Sir Roger took him to task. Addis.

To Task verb

To burthen with something to be done.

Etymology: tascu, Welsh, or from the noun.

He depos’d the king, Soon after that depriv’d him of his life, And, in the neck of that, task’d the whole state. William Shakespeare.

Forth he goes, Like to a harvestman, that’s task’d to mow, Or all, or lose his hire. William Shakespeare , Coriolanus.

Some things of weight, That task our thoughts, concerning us and France. William Shakespeare.

I have drunk but one cup to-night, and that was craftily qualified too; and behold what innovation it makes here. I am unfortunate in the infirmity, and dare not task my weakness with any more. William Shakespeare , Othello.

Divert thy thoughts at home, There task thy maids, and exercise the loom. Dryden.

Wikipedia Rate this definition: 0.0 / 0 votes

The two-pore-domain or tandem pore domain potassium channels are a family of 15 members that form what is known as leak channels which possess Goldman-Hodgkin-Katz (open) rectification. These channels are regulated by several mechanisms including signaling lipids, oxygen tension, pH, mechanical stretch, and G-proteins . Their name is derived from the fact that the α subunits consist of four transmembrane segments, and each pair of transmembrane segments contains a pore loop between the two transmembrane segments. Thus, each subunit has two pore loops. As such, they structurally correspond to two inward-rectifier α subunits and thus form dimers in the membrane (whereas inward-rectifier α subunits form tetramers). Each single channel does not have two pores; the name of the channel comes from the fact that each subunit has two P (pore) domains in its primary sequence. To quote Rang and Dale (2015), "The nomenclature is misleading, especially when they are incorrectly referred to as two-pore channels".Below is a list of the 15 known two-pore-domain human potassium channels:

ChatGPT Rate this definition: 0.0 / 0 votes

A task is a specific piece of work or activity that needs to be completed, typically within a certain timeframe, in order to achieve a goal or objective. It often involves the allocation of resources, the execution of specific actions or steps, and may require the involvement of individuals or teams. Tasks can range from simple or routine actions to complex and multi-step processes, depending on the nature and complexity of the goal to be accomplished.

Webster Dictionary Rate this definition: 5.0 / 1 vote

labor or study imposed by another, often in a definite quantity or amount

business; employment; undertaking; labor

to impose a task upon; to assign a definite amount of business, labor, or duty to

to oppress with severe or excessive burdens; to tax

to charge; to tax; as with a fault

Wikidata Rate this definition: 2.3 / 6 votes

In project management, a task is an activity that needs to be accomplished within a defined period of time or by a deadline. A task can be broken down into assignments which should also have a defined start and end date or a deadline for completion. One or more assignments on a task puts the task under execution. Completion of all assignments on a specific task normally renders the task completed. Tasks can be linked together to create dependencies. In most projects, tasks may suffer one of two major drawbacks: ⁕Task dependency: Which is normal as most tasks rely on others to get done. However, this can lead to the stagnation of a project when many tasks cannot get started unless others are finished. ⁕Unclear understanding of the term complete: For example, if a task is 90% complete, does this mean that it will take only 1/9 of the time already spent on this task to finish it? Although this is mathematically sound, it is rarely the case when it comes to practice.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary Rate this definition: 0.0 / 0 votes

task, n. a set amount of work, esp. of study, given by another: work: drudgery.— v.t. to impose a task on: to burden with severe work.— ns. Task′er , one who imposes a task, or who performs it; Task′ing , task-work; Task′master , a master who imposes a task: an overseer:— fem. Task′mistress ; Task′work , work done as a task, or by the job.— Take to task , to reprove. [O. Fr. tasque (Fr. tâche )—Low L. tasca , taxa —L. taxāre , to rate.]

Editors Contribution Rate this definition: 4.0 / 1 vote

A simple defined piece of work.

The project task list was so easy and simple for all to follow.

Submitted by MaryC on January 23, 2020  

Suggested Resources Rate this definition: 0.0 / 0 votes

What does TASK stand for? -- Explore the various meanings for the TASK acronym on the Abbreviations.com website.

Matched Categories

British national corpus.

Spoken Corpus Frequency

Rank popularity for the word 'task' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #1070

Written Corpus Frequency

Rank popularity for the word 'task' in Written Corpus Frequency: #2347

Nouns Frequency

Rank popularity for the word 'task' in Nouns Frequency: #333

Anagrams for task »

How to pronounce task.

Alex US English David US English Mark US English Daniel British Libby British Mia British Karen Australian Hayley Australian Natasha Australian Veena Indian Priya Indian Neerja Indian Zira US English Oliver British Wendy British Fred US English Tessa South African

How to say task in sign language?

Chaldean Numerology

The numerical value of task in Chaldean Numerology is: 1

Pythagorean Numerology

The numerical value of task in Pythagorean Numerology is: 6

Examples of task in a Sentence

Brian Hale :

This was no easy feat as members of the task force dedicated themselves over a long period of time.

Oscar Ekponimo :

We met one lady who has six children and survives on 400 naira ($1.05)a day, she sells firewood and kunu (a local drink). One day the task force seized her kunu for hawking in the street, and she had nothing. She had to feed her family on what she made. So it's nice to see the impact of what we're doing.

Cassandra Hatton :

This manuscript dates from the time when Turing was engaged in the crucial task of breaking the Enigma Code, its mathematical content gives an extraordinary insight into the working mind of one of the greatest luminaries of the 20th Century.

Emily Ferris :

We're still talking about huge amounts of territory -- Ukraine is massive -- even if they are just focusing on the east and the south. Some of the claims from senior commanders that they're going to be establishing a land corridor across the south of Ukraine, it's still a huge task , the fact that they've not been able to take major cities and major rail hubs before is still a problem. I think that's going to persist.

Jalal ud-Din Rumi :

Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.

Popularity rank by frequency of use

  • ^  Princeton's WordNet http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=task
  • ^  Wiktionary https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Task
  • ^  Samuel Johnson's Dictionary https://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/views/search.php?term=task
  • ^  Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Task
  • ^  ChatGPT https://chat.openai.com
  • ^  Webster Dictionary https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/task
  • ^  Wikidata https://www.wikidata.org/w/index.php?search=task
  • ^  Chambers 20th Century Dictionary https://www.gutenberg.org/files/37683/37683-h/37683-h.htm#:~:text=task

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Image credit, the web's largest resource for, definitions & translations, a member of the stands4 network, free, no signup required :, add to chrome, add to firefox, browse definitions.net, are you a words master, the trait of lacking restraint or control; reckless freedom from inhibition or worry, Nearby & related entries:.

  • tasis schools
  • task (project management)
  • task analysis
  • task component
  • task element
  • task force noun

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Honey, I Love You. Didn’t You See My Slack About It?

Some couples are using professional project-management software to maintain their relationships. Why does it bother other people?

Ben Lang using his laptop and his wife, Karen-Lynn, holding her phone, in their living room.

By Erin Griffith

Ben Lang didn’t expect to get so much hate just for being organized. For the past three years, he and his wife, Karen-Lynn Amouyal, have been using Notion, a popular software tool, to optimize their household and relationship. His version of the tool, commonly used by businesses to manage complex projects, functions like a souped-up Google Doc, with sections for a grocery list, to-do lists and details of upcoming trips.

More unusual is a section Mr. Lang, a venture capital investor who previously worked at Notion, created about principles (“what’s important to us as a couple”). Another section, called “Learnings,” outlines things the couple have discovered about each other, such as their love languages and Myers-Briggs test results. There’s a list of friends they want to set up on dates. They also maintain a log of memories from their date nights. Mr. Lang, 30, was so proud of the creation that last month, he started promoting a template of the setup to others. “My wife and I use Notion religiously to manage our day-to-day life,” he wrote on X. “I turned this into a template, let me know if you’d like to see it!”

The internet responded with a venomous outrage. “People have told me my wife is cheating on me, people have told me I have a dead body in my basement, people have told me I’m autistic,” he said.

But his approach isn’t entirely unusual, especially among people who work in the tech industry and want to manage their personal lives the same way they manage their professional lives. For a class of young workers, it’s only rational to apply the tools of the corporate world to their relationships and families. Businesses have goals and systems for achieving them, the thinking goes. They get things done.

Anastasia Alt, 35, uses Kanban boards — a visual tracking system where tasks progress from left to right — in Trello, a project management tool, for “literally everything.” This includes work at Yana Sleep , her e-commerce start-up, but also planning trips and events with her partner. The two of them also have a dedicated Slack work space, named after a mash-up of their surnames with a logo created using the artificial intelligence software Midjourney. She acknowledged, in jest, that some of her systems were “a little psychopathic,” but said she’s always been an optimizer.

Ms. Alt said the Slack work space has emotional benefits for her relationship, too: freeing up their text messages and in-person conversations for the fun stuff.

“I’m glad, when the workday is over, that I don’t need to address 20 minutes’ worth of semi-urgent logistical items before diving into eating takeout food and hanging out with our dogs,” she said. “Sitting in person and hashing out a schedule together is less high-quality time than sitting in person and, you know, telling jokes.”

A #gratitude channel, where the couple posts messages of appreciation or acknowledgment of what the other person is doing, has become a repository of memories she likes to look back on, almost like a photo album, she said.

Lessons From Business

Relationships are work, but no one wants to admit it.

But this particular flavor of life hacking often causes observers to collectively recoil. It threatens to take the romance and spontaneity out of life, in their view. It feels cold.

“There is a phenomenon whereby the more you try to manage your life, the more you risk squeezing the vibrancy out of it,” said Oliver Burkeman, author of “Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals.”

And yet, the crushing overwhelm of modern life, with daily to-do lists and schedules and notifications and digital logistics can feel so never-ending that any solution offering to optimize even the tiniest task — or most meaningful relationship — looks like a lifeline worth grasping for.

Emily Oster, a parenting expert and economist, rose to popularity by promoting a data-based approach to managing pregnancy, including in her latest book “The Unexpected.” She also wrote a book in 2021 called “The Family Firm,” which advises using a “business process” to make family decisions about, for instance, extracurriculars or getting your kid a phone. Some critics have attacked her approach for the same reasons they recoil from a Notion template for married couples — it can feel detached.

Dr. Oster said the problem is not systems like hers — it’s not having difficult conversations about priorities and principles. Her spreadsheets and other tools are designed to set people up for the lives they want, she said.

“Surfacing conflict on purpose is something we don’t generally like to do,” she said. “It’s hard to do at work, also, but it’s even harder to do with someone you want go to sleep with at night.”

Dr. Oster said the lesson she takes from the business world to her personal life is to make thoughtful, deliberate decisions. “I don’t think there is a limit to how far you can take that,” she said.

She’s not alone in that thinking. Even amid the backlash to Mr. Lang’s template, more than 2,400 people liked it enough to download a copy, with an option to pay up to $25.

‘They Are Craving a Solution’

Claire Kart, 40, was among those who bought the template, in part, she said, because she was amused by all the jokes about it. But also, with two kids under the age of 3, the allure of a better, more productive, more organized way of life at home was irresistible.

Ms. Kart, a marketing executive at a cryptocurrency start-up, already has some optimization systems in place with her husband, a start-up founder. They use Google’s Keep app for a shared grocery list and Google calendars to manage their schedule. She has elaborately color-coded Google Sheets for Christmas gifts and vacation planning. (She calls herself the family’s chief creative officer, as well as chief investment officer. Her husband is the chief financial officer and chief technology officer.)

Ms. Kart said systems like hers were necessary for splitting up household management duties. One person can keep everything in their head, she said, but “dividing and co-owning that work” leads to “coordination friction.”

Like Ms. Alt, she believes the systems free up their limited in-person time for more meaningful conversations. “Using that really rare time to talk about a grocery list feels lonely,” she said.

Since her second child was born a little over a year ago, Ms. Kart and her husband have been “cutting scope,” she said, using a project management phrase for doing less. “We’re in survival mode,” she said. “Just cooking dinner feels like a win.”

Mr. Lang’s template could help, she said. The only problem so far? She’s been too busy to set it up.

A smaller subset of people have always used tech tools in their personal lives, but the practice has spread in recent years. Mei Lin Ng, the co-founder of the family tech start-up, Hearth, said that one reason past attempts to create technology for the family have failed was that consumers weren’t as open to it. Her company’s product, a 27-inch screen that families can mount in their homes to display schedules, assign chores and help kids with morning and bedtime routines that became available last year, is being adopted by digitally native millennials.

“Consumers are really, really ready for something like this,” she said. “They are craving a solution.”

After Ms. Alt told her friend and fellow optimizer, Ryan Matzner, about her couples’ Slack, he immediately started his own. It was a bit of an uphill battle to get his fiancée, Kate McKenzie, on board — she is a medical school student and preferred analog tools like a paper planner — but they’re now using Trello, Slack and a shared Google calendar to plan their wedding.

Mr. Matzner, 39, co-founder of a product development agency called Fueled, realized that he had been avoiding responding to text messages from Ms. McKenzie because their thread had turned into a to-do list full of tasks.

So they dumped all their administrative tasks into Slack, which has expanded beyond wedding planning into regular life with more than 40 channels including #house-parties, #travel and #ludwig-the-car.

Being hyper-organized and efficient is a natural outgrowth of having a very active work and social life, Mr. Matzner said. He sends calendar invites the minute he makes plans and saves new friends into his contacts with their city — searchable anytime he’s in town — as well as a note if they’d be fun to invite to a dinner party. He wishes someone would build a “personal C.R.M.” (customer relationship management, the kind of system sold by companies like Salesforce), since none of the options he’s tried are entirely satisfying.

Being the organized person in a relationship can lead to friction. Kate Reznykova, 27, a venture capital investor, used to frequently field random queries like, “How do we log into our internet?” from her partner throughout the day, which tested her patience. She recently started using Mr. Lang’s Notion template to establish a “shared source of truth” for such questions. “If I get a text, I say, ‘Go to the page, it’s all there,’” she said.

Mr. Lang was amused by the attention his template got online. There were memes about divorce rates spiking in San Francisco, about “offboarding” one’s wife and about requiring your partner to submit a “purchase order approval form” to spend money. He posted his own joke version, with quarterly objectives and annual reviews for relationships.

He and Ms. Amouyal used Notion to plan their wedding — a life event that, anecdotally, seems to turn many couples into project managers — and decided to keep it going after their honeymoon. The most hated part of his template, the date night log, was simply a way to follow all the marriage advice he kept hearing, he said. Everyone told him how important it was to keep the connection strong as life gets busier and more complicated. Why not create a journal of all the fun things they’ve done together? The outsized reaction was a surprise.

“I thought a few people would respond and think it’s cute,” he said.

Erin Griffith covers tech companies, start-ups and the culture of Silicon Valley from San Francisco. More about Erin Griffith

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Dive deeper into the people, issues and trends shaping the world of business..

Elon Musk’s Diplomacy: ​​The billionaire is wooing right-wing world leaders  to push his own politics and expand his business empire.

Staying Connected: ​​Some couples are using professional project-management software like Slack and Trello to maintain their relationships. Why does it bother other people ?

A Final Curtain Call: ​​The animatronic band at Chuck E. Cheese, by turns endearing and creepy, will be phased out by year’s end at all but two locations. We visited one of them .

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COMMENTS

  1. task verb

    Definition of task verb in Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary. Meaning, pronunciation, picture, example sentences, grammar, usage notes, synonyms and more.

  2. TASK

    TASK meaning: 1. a piece of work to be done, especially one done regularly, unwillingly, or with difficulty: 2…. Learn more.

  3. TASK

    TASK definition: 1. a piece of work to be done, especially one done regularly, unwillingly, or with difficulty: 2…. Learn more.

  4. Task Definition & Meaning

    task: [noun] a usually assigned piece of work often to be finished within a certain time. something hard or unpleasant that has to be done. duty, function.

  5. TASK Definition & Meaning

    Task definition: a definite piece of work assigned to, falling to, or expected of a person; duty.. See examples of TASK used in a sentence.

  6. task

    task. Pronunciation: /tɑːsk/. noun. a piece of work to be done or undertaken: a new manager was given the task of developing the club's talent. More example sentences Synonyms. verb. [with object] 1 assign a task to: NATO troops are tasked with separating the warring parties. More example sentences.

  7. task

    noun. definition 1: a specific item of work assigned to one; duty. Each volunteer worker was assigned a task. The children were given the task of clearing off the table. After we had done all our tasks, we had some time to relax. synonyms: assignment, business, duty, job, mission. similar words:

  8. TASK definition and meaning

    6 meanings: 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.... Click for more definitions.

  9. task

    From Longman Business Dictionary task /tɑːsktæsk/ noun [ countable] 1 a piece of work that must be done, especially one that must be done regularly Scheduling is a key task for most managers. day-to-day management tasks computers that can do dozens of tasks at the same time 2 a piece of work that is difficult but very important task of the ...

  10. Can 'Task' Be Used as a Verb?

    Task is not a new verb. In fact, it has been verbing along since the 14th century, used with the meaning of "to assign a task to.". It also has an obsolete sense of "to impose a tax on," and an additional current meaning of "to oppress with great labor.". The word has shown an increase in use of late, particularly in business ...

  11. Task Verbs

    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.

  12. Task

    task: 1 n any piece of work that is undertaken or attempted Synonyms: labor , project , undertaking Examples: Manhattan Project code name for the secret United States project set up in 1942 to develop atomic bombs for use in World War II Types: show 22 types... hide 22 types... breeze , child's play , cinch , duck soup , picnic , piece of cake ...

  13. task noun

    Thesaurus task. duties; mission; job; chore; These are all words for a piece of work that someone has to do. task a piece of work that someone has to do, especially a difficult or unpleasant one: Our first task is to set up a communications system. duties tasks that are part of your job: Your duties include data entry and record keeping.

  14. task, v. meanings, etymology and more

    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 ...

  15. AP Biology Exam Tips

    Each one directs you to complete a specific type of response. Here are the task verbs you'll see on the exam: Calculate: Perform mathematical steps to arrive at a final answer, including algebraic expressions, properly substituted numbers, and correct labeling of units and significant figures. Construct/Draw: Create a diagram, graph ...

  16. Glossary of Task Words

    Define. Make a statement as to the meaning or interpretation of something, giving sufficient detail as to allow it to be distinguished from similar things. Describe. Spell out the main aspects of an idea or topic or the sequence in which a series of things happened. Discuss. Investigate or examine by argument.

  17. What does task mean?

    Meaning of task. What does task mean? Information and translations of task in the most comprehensive dictionary definitions resource on the web. Login . The STANDS4 Network. ... job, task, chore verb. a specific piece of work required to be done as a duty or for a specific fee

  18. Task Verb Definitions

    Contrast. Show the differences between two or more events, periods, ideas, or theories. Define. State the meaning of a word or phrase. Example: Define science. Describe. Provide the characteristics of something. Discuss. State the pros and cons on an issue, event, process, theory, or technique.

  19. FM3-90 Appendix B Tactical Mission Tasks

    Disrupt is a tactical mission task in which a commander integrates direct and indirect fires, terrain, and obstacles to upset an enemy's formation or tempo, interrupt his timetable, or cause his ...

  20. Task Verbs AP Biology Flashcards

    Provide reasoning to explain how evidence supports or qualifies a claim. examine methodically and in detail the constitution or structure of (something, especially information), typically for purposes of explanation and interpretation. Study with Quizlet and memorize flashcards containing terms like calculate, Construct/Draw, Describe and more.

  21. NYT 'Connections' Hints and Answers Today, Monday, May 13

    Plus, I'll reveal the answers further down. Hints About Today's NYT Connections Categories on Monday, May 13. 1. A category of clothing you might love. 2. Children's activities. 3. Characters in a ...

  22. Honey, I Love You. Didn't You See My Slack About It?

    Mr. Lang, 30, was so proud of the creation that last month, he started promoting a template of the setup to others. "My wife and I use Notion religiously to manage our day-to-day life," he ...