1. A piece of work assigned or done as part of one's duties.
2. A difficult or tedious undertaking: Finding qualified people to fill these specialized roles was a real task.
3. A function to be performed; an objective: It is our task to renew consumer confidence.
tr.v. tasked, task·ing, tasksIdiom:
1. To assign a task to or impose a task on: The agency was tasked with creating an advertising campaign.
2. Archaic To subject to strain or hardship: "The Professor's household was a modest one, and yet it tasked his ideas to keep it up to his wife's standard" (Edith Wharton).
take/call/bring to task
To reprimand or censure.
[Middle English taske, imposed work, tax, from Old North French tasque, from Vulgar Latin *tasca, alteration of *taxa, from Latin taxāre, to feel, reproach, reckon; see TAX.]
Synonyms: task, job1, chore, assignment
These nouns denote a piece of work that one must do. A task is a well-defined responsibility that is usually imposed by another and that may be burdensome: I stayed at work late to finish the task at hand. Job often suggests a specific short-term undertaking: "did little jobs about the house with skill" (W.H. Auden).
Chore generally denotes a minor or routine job: The farmer's morning chores included milking the cows. Assignment generally denotes a task allotted by a person in authority: His homework assignment involved writing an essay.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.