• A task.
  • An economic role for which a person is paid.
  • Plastic surgery.
  • A task, or series of tasks, carried out in batch mode (especially on a mainframe computer).
  • A sudden thrust or stab; a jab.
  • A public transaction done for private profit; something performed ostensibly as a part of official duty, but really for private gain; a corrupt official business.
  • Any affair or event which affects one, whether fortunately or unfortunately.
  • A thing (often used in a vague way to refer to something whose name one cannot recall).


  • To do odd jobs or occasional work for hire.
  • To work as a jobber.
  • To take the loss.
  • To buy and sell for profit, as securities; to speculate in.
  • To subcontract a project or delivery in small portions to a number of contractors.
  • To seek private gain under pretence of public service; to turn public matters to private advantage.
  • To strike or stab with a pointed instrument.
  • To thrust in, as a pointed instrument.
  • To hire or let in periods of service.


  • From the phrase jobbe of work, of uncertain origin. Perhaps from a variant of Middle English gobbe; or perhaps related to Middle English jobben, or Middle English choppe. More at gob, jab, chop.
  • Folk etymology linked the word to Job, the biblical character who suffered many misfortunes; for semantic development of misery and labor, compare Vulgar Latin *tripalium ("instrument of torture") and its Romance descendants like Spanish trabajo and French travail (whence borrowed into English travail).

Modern English dictionary

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