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Meaning of homework in English

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  • The kids are busy with their homework.
  • My science teacher always sets a lot of homework.
  • "Have you got any homework tonight ?" "No."
  • I got A minus for my English homework.
  • For homework I want you to write an essay on endangered species .
  • academic year
  • access course
  • Advanced Placement
  • asynchronous
  • foundation course
  • immersion course
  • interdisciplinarity
  • on a course
  • open admissions
  • open classroom
  • work placement

homework | American Dictionary

Homework | business english, examples of homework, translations of homework.

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  • do your homework
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Definition of homework

Examples of homework in a sentence.

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'homework.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

1662, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Dictionary Entries Near homework

Cite this entry.

“Homework.” Dictionary , Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

Kids definition of homework, more from merriam-webster on homework.

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for homework

Nglish: Translation of homework for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of homework for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about homework

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[ hohm -wurk ]

  • schoolwork assigned to be done outside the classroom ( distinguished from classwork ).
  • a single assignment of such schoolwork: Homeworks are due at the beginning of class.
  • paid work done at home , as piecework.

to do one's homework for the next committee meeting.

/ ˈhəʊmˌwɜːk /

  • school work done out of lessons, esp at home
  • any preparatory study
  • work done at home for pay

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Word history and origins.

Origin of homework 1

Idioms and Phrases

Example sentences.

Now, they log on to Zoom from their bedrooms, surrounded by unfinished homework assignments and tattered stuffed animals, waiting to be assigned calls, texts and emails by the trained therapists who oversee the program.

Yow started her homework and saw Frese had gone 35-22 with two winning seasons at Ball State, which hadn’t had a winning record in its previous nine seasons.

Do some homework before investing in a diamond, and that lifelong commitment.

Another poster included an image of their losses over what appeared to be online math homework.

As we countdown to Inauguration Day, I've been doing my homework—and looking to the past for inspiration.

“I can help my children with their homework and sometimes we text in English at my job,” Santos says.

Scheunemann, meanwhile, had no idea who Spencer was, and did some homework.

She jumped at the chance to watch RT, or jumped at the chance to skip calculus homework.

And we encourage parent-student “contracts,” for class attendance, homework submission and even extra-curriculum activities.

Adicéam did his homework, spending 50 days collecting pieces, many with unexpected stories behind them.

Much of this homework is done by a very bad light and the boy's eyes suffer much.

For homework we have prepared alphabets where the letters are printed in type-writing order.

His parents were always getting angry with him for losing his clothes, or his toys, or his homework.

Only at the time when he was going to Beauregard School, with his homework.

And once a week or twice a week she was sending her homework or something to him.

Related Words

  • arrangement
  • construction
  • establishment
  • preparedness
  • qualification

Definitions and idiom definitions from 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 'homework'

IPA Pronunciation Guide

homework in American English

Homework in british english, examples of 'homework' in a sentence homework, related word partners homework, trends of homework.

View usage over: Since Exist Last 10 years Last 50 years Last 100 years Last 300 years

Browse alphabetically homework

  • homeward journey
  • homework assignment
  • homework club
  • homework diary
  • All ENGLISH words that begin with 'H'

Related terms of homework

  • do homework
  • school homework
  • homework exercise
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Definition of homework noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary

  • acquire/get/lack experience/training/(an) education
  • receive/provide somebody with training
  • develop/design/plan a curriculum/course/program/syllabus
  • give/go to/attend a class/lesson/lecture/seminar
  • hold/run/conduct a class/seminar/workshop
  • moderate/lead/facilitate a discussion
  • sign up for/take a course/classes/lessons
  • go to/start preschool/kindergarten/nursery school
  • be in the first, second, etc. grade (at school)
  • study/take/drop history/chemistry/German, etc.
  • finish/drop out of/quit school
  • graduate from high school/college
  • be the victim/target of bullying/teasing
  • skip/cut/ ( informal ) ditch class/school
  • cheat on an exam/a test
  • get/be given a detention (for doing something)
  • be expelled from/be suspended from school
  • do your homework/a project on something
  • work on/write/do/submit an essay/a dissertation/a thesis/an assignment/a paper
  • finish/complete your dissertation/thesis/studies
  • hand in/turn in your homework/essay/assignment/paper
  • study/prepare/review/ ( informal ) cram for a test/an exam
  • take/ ( formal ) sit for a test/an exam
  • grade homework/a test
  • do well on/ ( informal ) ace a test/an exam
  • pass/fail/ ( informal ) flunk a test/an exam/a class/a course/a subject
  • apply to/get into/go to/start college
  • leave/graduate from college (with a degree in computer science)/law school
  • study for/work towards a law degree/a degree in physics
  • major/minor in biology/philosophy
  • earn/receive/be awarded/get/have/hold a master's degree/a bachelor's degree/a Ph.D. in economics

Questions about grammar and vocabulary?

Find the answers with Practical English Usage online, your indispensable guide to problems in English.

  • 2 ( informal ) work that someone does to prepare for something You could tell that he had really done his homework (= found out all he needed to know) .

Nearby words

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What is the meaning of "homework"?

  • home theater
  • homeward-bound
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  • homicidally
  • homicide bureau

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An assignment is a task that someone is given to do, usually as part of their job.

An assignment is also a piece of academic work given to students.

In American English, an assignment is also a piece of work given to students to do at home.

Work given to schoolchildren to do at home is also called homework .

Be Careful! Homework is an uncountable noun. You do not talk about 'homeworks' or 'a homework'. Note that you do not say ' I have made my homework '. You say 'I have done my homework'.

Homework is work that school pupils are given to do at home. You say that pupils do homework. Don't say that they ' make homework '.

Housework is work such as cleaning or washing that is done in a house.

Be Careful! Both homework and housework are uncountable nouns. Don't talk about ' a homework ' or ' houseworks '.

  • assignability
  • best of all
  • brain-teaser
  • change magnitude
  • concentrate
  • homeshoring
  • homesickness
  • Home-speaking
  • Homestead Act
  • homestead exemption
  • homestead law
  • homesteader
  • homesteading
  • homestretch
  • Homeward bound
  • homeward(s)
  • homeward-bound
  • homework problem
  • homeworking
  • homewrecker
  • homichlophobia
  • homicide bomber
  • Homicide by misadventure
  • homicidomania
  • homiletical
  • homing adaptor
  • homing device
  • homing guidance
  • hometraining
  • Hometronic Internet Module
  • HomeVestors of America, Inc.
  • Homeward Bound
  • Homeward Bound (disambiguation)
  • Homeward Bound Animal Rescue Inc.
  • Homeward Bound Greyhound Association
  • Homeward Bound Theatre Company
  • Homeward Trail Bible Camp
  • homeward-boundly
  • Homewood City Schools
  • Homewood Institutional Review Board
  • Homewood Maitland Safety Association
  • Homewood Musical Instrument Co.
  • Homewood-Flossmoor Swim Club, Inc.
  • Homework Access Line
  • Homework assignment
  • Homework Assistance Hotline
  • Homework Center
  • Homework Diary
  • Homework help
  • Homework hotline
  • Homeworkers
  • Homeworkers Organized for More Employment
  • Homeworkers' Union and Small Business Association
  • Homeworking
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homework noun

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What does the noun homework mean?

There are three meanings listed in OED's entry for the noun homework . See ‘Meaning & use’ for definitions, usage, and quotation evidence.

How common is the noun homework ?

How is the noun homework pronounced, british english, u.s. english, where does the noun homework come from.

Earliest known use

The earliest known use of the noun homework is in the mid 1600s.

OED's earliest evidence for homework is from 1653, in the writing of Edmund Chillenden, parliamentarian army officer and General Baptist leader.

homework is formed within English, by compounding.

Etymons: home n. 1 , work n.

Nearby entries

  • homeward-bounder, n. 1837–
  • homeward-bound pennant, n. 1853–
  • homewardly, adv. 1797–
  • homewards, adv. & adj. Old English–
  • homeware, n. 1782–
  • home waters, n. 1838–
  • home wear, n. 1836–
  • home-whining, n. a1657
  • home wind, n. 1732–
  • home-woe, n. 1838–
  • homework, n. 1653–
  • homework club, n. 1900–
  • homework diary, n. 1973–
  • homeworker, n. 1843–
  • homeworking, n. 1844–
  • home-working, adj. 1850–
  • home worship, n. 1849–
  • homewort, n. Old English–
  • home-wreck, n. 1845–
  • home-wrecker, n. 1878–
  • home-wrecking, n. 1878–

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Meaning & use

Pronunciation, compounds & derived words, entry history for homework, n..

homework, n. was revised in September 2011.

homework, n. was last modified in September 2023. is a living text, updated every three months. Modifications may include:

  • further revisions to definitions, pronunciation, etymology, headwords, variant spellings, quotations, and dates;
  • new senses, phrases, and quotations.

Revisions and additions of this kind were last incorporated into homework, n. in September 2023.

Earlier versions of this entry were published in:

A Supplement to the New English Dictionary (1933)

  • Find out more

OED Second Edition (1989)

  • View homework in OED Second Edition

Please submit your feedback for homework, n.

Please include your email address if you are happy to be contacted about your feedback. OUP will not use this email address for any other purpose.

Citation details

Factsheet for homework, n., browse entry.

  • Professional development
  • Managing resources

The role of homework

Homework seems to be an accepted part of teachers’ and students’ routines, but there is little mention of it in ELT literature.

what is the meaning of homework in english

The role of homework is hardly mentioned in the majority of general ELT texts or training courses, suggesting that there is little question as to its value even if the resulting workload is time-consuming. However, there is clearly room for discussion of homework policies and practices particularly now that technology has made so many more resources available to learners outside the classroom.

Reasons for homework

  • Attitudes to homework
  • Effective homework
  • Types of homework
  • Homework is expected by students, teachers, parents and institutions.
  • Homework reinforces and helps learners to retain information taught in the classroom as well as increasing their general understanding of the language.
  • Homework develops study habits and independent learning. It also encourages learners to acquire resources such as dictionaries and grammar reference books. Research shows that homework also benefits factual knowledge, self-discipline, attitudes to learning and problem-solving skills.
  • Homework offers opportunities for extensive activities in the receptive skills which there may not be time for in the classroom. It may also be an integral part of ongoing learning such as project work and the use of a graded reader.
  • Homework provides continuity between lessons. It may be used to consolidate classwork, but also for preparation for the next lesson.
  • Homework may be used to shift repetitive, mechanical, time-consuming tasks out of the classroom.
  • Homework bridges the gap between school and home. Students, teachers and parents can monitor progress. The institution can involve parents in the learning process.
  • Homework can be a useful assessment tool, as part of continual or portfolio assessment.

Attitudes to homework Teachers tend to have mixed feelings about homework. While recognising the advantages, they observe negative attitudes and poor performance from students. Marking and giving useful feedback on homework can take up a large proportion of a teacher’s time, often after school hours.

  • Students themselves complain that the homework they are given is boring or pointless, referring to homework tasks that consist of studying for tests, doing workbook exercises, finishing incomplete classwork, memorising lists of vocabulary and writing compositions. Where this is actually the case, the negative effects of homework can be observed, typified by loss of interest and a view of homework as a form of punishment.
  • Other negative effects of poorly managed homework include lack of necessary leisure time and an increased differential between high and low achievers. These problems are often the cause of avoidance techniques such as completing homework tasks in class, collaborating and copying or simply not doing the required tasks. In turn, conflict may arise between learners, teachers, parents and the institution.

Effective homework In order for homework to be effective, certain principles should be observed.

  • Students should see the usefulness of homework. Teachers should explain the purpose both of homework in general and of individual tasks.
  • Tasks should be relevant, interesting and varied.
  • Good classroom practice also applies to homework. Tasks should be manageable but achievable.
  • Different tasks may be assigned to different ability groups. Individual learning styles should be taken into account.
  • Homework should be manageable in terms of time as well as level of difficulty. Teachers should remember that students are often given homework in other subjects and that there is a need for coordination to avoid overload. A homework diary, kept by the learner but checked by teachers and parents is a useful tool in this respect.
  • Homework is rarely co-ordinated within the curriculum as a whole, but should at least be incorporated into an overall scheme of work and be considered in lesson planning.
  • Homework tends to focus on a written product. There is no reason why this should be the case, other than that there is visible evidence that the task has been done.
  • Learner involvement and motivation may be increased by encouraging students to contribute ideas for homework and possibly design their own tasks. The teacher also needs to know how much time the students have, what facilities they have at home, and what their preferences are. A simple questionnaire will provide this data.
  • While homework should consolidate classwork, it should not replicate it. Home is the outside world and tasks which are nearer to real-life use of language are appropriate.
  • If homework is set, it must be assessed in some way, and feedback given. While marking by the teacher is sometimes necessary, peer and self-assessment can encourage learner independence as well as reducing the teacher’s workload. Motivating students to do homework is an ongoing process, and encouragement may be given by commenting and asking questions either verbally or in written form in order to demonstrate interest on the teacher’s part, particularly in the case of self-study and project work.

Types of homework There are a number of categories of useful and practicable homework tasks.

  • Workbook-based tasks Most published course materials include a workbook or practice book, mainly including consolidation exercises, short reading texts and an answer key. Most workbooks claim to be suitable for both class and self-study use, but are better used at home in order to achieve a separation of what is done in class and at home. Mechanical practice is thus shifted out of class hours, while this kind of exercise is particularly suited to peer- or self-checking and correction.
  • Preparation tasks Rarely do teachers ask learners to read through the next unit of a coursebook, though there are advantages in involving students in the lesson plan and having them know what is coming. More motivating, however, is asking students to find and bring materials such as photographs and pictures, magazine articles and realia which are relevant to the next topic, particularly where personalisation or relevance to the local context requires adaptation of course materials.
  • Extensive tasks Much can be gained from the use of graded readers, which now often have accompanying audio material, radio and TV broadcasts, podcasts and songs. Sometimes tasks need to be set as guidance, but learners also need to be encouraged to read, listen and watch for pleasure. What is important is that learners share their experiences in class. Extensive reading and listening may be accompanied by dictionary work and a thematic or personalised vocabulary notebook, whereby learners can collect language which they feel is useful.
  • Guided discovery tasks Whereas classroom teaching often involves eliciting language patterns and rules from learners, there is also the option of asking learners to notice language and make deductions for themselves at home. This leads to the sharing of knowledge and even peer teaching in the classroom.
  • Real-world tasks These involve seeing, hearing and putting language to use in realistic contexts. Reading magazines, watching TV, going to the cinema and listening to songs are obvious examples, offering the option of writing summaries and reviews as follow-up activities. Technology facilitates chat and friendship networks, while even in monolingual environments, walking down a shopping street noticing shop and brand names will reveal a lot of language. As with extensive tasks, it is important for learners to share their experiences, and perhaps to collect them in a formal or informal portfolio.
  • Project work It is a good idea to have a class or individual projects running over a period of time. Projects may be based on topics from a coursebook, the locality, interests and hobbies or selected individually. Project work needs to be guided in terms of where to find resources and monitored regularly, the outcome being a substantial piece of work at the end of a course or term of which the learner can claim ownership.

Conclusion Finally, a word about the Internet. The Web appears to offer a wealth of opportunity for self-study. Certainly reference resources make project work easier and more enjoyable, but cutting and pasting can also be seen as an easy option, requiring little originality or understanding. Conferring over homework tasks by email can be positive or negative, though chatting with an English-speaking friend is to be encouraged, as is searching for visual materials. Both teachers and learners are guilty of trawling the Net for practice exercises, some of which are untried, untested and dubious in terms of quality. Learners need guidance, and a starting point is to provide a short list of reliable sites such as the British Council's  LearnEnglish  and the BBC's Learning English  which provide a huge variety of exercises and activities as well as links to other reliable sources. Further reading Cooper, H. Synthesis of Research on Homework . Educational Leadership 47/3, 1989 North, S. and Pillay, H. Homework: re-examining the routin e. ELT Journal 56/2, April 2002 Painter, L. Homework . English Teaching Professional, Issue 10, 1999 Painter, L. Homework . OUP Resource Books for Teachers, 2003

First published in October 2007

Mr. Steve Darn I liked your…

Mr. Steve Darn I liked your method of the role of the homework . Well, I am one of those laggard people. Unfortunately, when it comes to homework, I definitely do it. Because, a student or pupil who understands new topics, of course, does his homework to know how much he understands the new topic. I also completely agree with all of Steve Darn's points above. However, sometimes teachers give a lot of riff-raff homework, just like homework is a human obligation. This is a plus. But in my opinion, first of all, it is necessary to divide the time properly, and then to do many tasks at home. Only then will you become an "excellent student" in the eyes of the teacher. Although we live in the age of technology, there are still some people who do not know how to send homework via email. Some foreign teachers ask to send tasks by email. Constant email updates require time and, in rare cases, a fee. My above points have been the cause of constant discussions.

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Setting homework, setting homework.

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Making Homework Meaningful

One thing that teaches the lessons of accountability, responsibility, diligence and an appreciation for knowledge is homework. Every student has to do it, and for most kids, it is a necessity in order to do well in school. But its usefulness and whether it's taken seriously are always topics of conversation among students.

A Survey of Homework Habits

In elementary school, we are brought up to do homework, and some kids like myself are lucky enough to have their parents there to reiterate that message. We are taught that homework is important for making the information stick in our brains so that we are ready for the next day's lesson. Beginning around middle school, kids start to question the importance of homework, and that continues into high school, where a definitive rift among students is formed.

Once I decided this post would be on the topic of homework, I set out to talk to students from multiple backgrounds, and with varying degrees of work ethic and success, about their thoughts and experiences around homework.

Starting with students in the top 10% academically, I learned that they all do their homework, plus extra studying on a nightly/weekly basis. Their mottos all seem to be along the lines of "I've built this into my routine" and "I have to do homework or else I won't do well and keep my grades up." These students push themselves and will continue to do well because they see the value of homework.

There are a few exceptions in this group, though. There always are a few students who make it into the top of the class and can get by without doing homework. From what I have experienced and heard, they tend to be auditory learners -- they listen intently in class and can retain the information without having to put it into their heads more than once.

The middle of the road students and those in danger of failing tend to tell me that they don't do any homework. The reasons that they cite include the fact that, under the policy of many schools, homework can count for only 5% or less of a student's overall grade. So if it doesn't count towards a grade, the reasoning goes, why bother? This is unfair to the teachers who have to continuously re-teach material, and to the other students who must endure listening to the same material over again.

A related reason these students don't do their homework is that they don't believe it will help them. It's been so long since they've done homework that they have either forgotten or never learned how -- and thus never reaped its benefits.

Time Management, Resources and Context

Here are a few ways that students I've talked to have had success, which I present with a couple of fresh ideas.

1) Use In-School Time

Doing homework during extra time in school helps. When students have the opportunity to do some of their homework in school with a large support base, I've noticed that they tend to get more out of it, and finish more. Yes, there are the exceptions, i.e., distractions, friends and goofing around. But the students that use the time wisely are no strangers to the ends justifying the means.

2) Do Homework in Period Order

Complete assignments in the order they are due the next day. Many students will suggest this as a means of making sure it all gets done. Setting it out by period and going in order has helped me in the past. A problem, though, is that it often encourages procrastination. When students set their work out like this, they are more likely to picture where their free time is during the school day and imagine themselves doing it then.

3) Use Social Media!

As I discussed in my previous blog post, kids love technology and are highly knowledgeable in social media. One thing I've often thought about is creating groups for classes on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. If a student is having trouble with a particular problem, they should be encouraged to seek help from a teacher or student that can respond with a picture of their own work within seconds. If schools started encouraging teachers to work this into just a few classes, I think we would see improvements in the quality of homework completed.

4) Make Real World Connections

What could be a better way of answering students' biggest question -- "When am I ever going to use this?" -- than by showing them? There are many ways this could be done. Teachers could assign students the task of finding their own applications of certain principles at home, such as how electrical circuits can illustrate a concept for physics class, or how chemistry is applied in the kitchen. Or you could give them a list of things to notice at home or around town. For example, my town is right on the Erie Canal, and it has more heritage and history than most small towns. But when we study the era in history class, we never go out of the building and realize that it's right there.

From Day One of school, homework needs to be shown as important and assigned as something substantial, not busy work. As we continue to move into the digital age, I am sure homework will change -- along with most everything else.

What are some other examples of meaningful homework you've seen?

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Is Homework Really Necessary?

what is the meaning of homework in english

Did you get all your homework done?

We’ve all heard that phrase one too many times before, and now it triggers your fight-or-flight response. Every waking thought is about an assignment you should be doing or that project you really should start but you just can’t bring yourself to face it. Is all this homework really necessary?  

Unfortunately, it just might be. Is the homework itself the problem, or is it the amount we end up with after classes are over for the day and your bed is looking really comfy? To figure all this out we have to remember why we get homework in the first place and what school would be like without it.  

In the very early 1900s, homework was actually considered unhealthy for children and was classified as child labor because it interfered with their ability to do chores around the house. The U.S. Department of Education called homework a tool for “boosting educational quality” when it was reinstated, and it became mandatory in 1986 after being rejected for so long, as recorded by the University of San Diego.  

It’s always good to look at the pros and cons of something when deciding how you feel about it. So, what does homework do for us? Quite a few things actually.  

First let’s address the elephant in the room. No one enjoys homework unless you’re a camp and outdoor adventure leadership (COAL) major. We all have something we would rather spend our time on; that’s just the way it is.  

However, when that test rolls around, most of us are glad we stayed late at the library until we understood what we were reading. According to the University of San Diego, students only absorb 50% of what they hear in a class lecture. If that’s all you had to learn from, keeping your GPA above a 3.5 would be considered a superpower.  

Whether we like it or not, homework helps us retain important information and truly grasp the concepts we are studying. Hearing about it once from your professor is great, but life as a college student is so busy that your chances of remembering everything you heard in all of your classes are next to none. Repetition is the key to retention, and other than experience training, studying the material you were given and doing your homework is how you’re going to graduate.  

Then why is it such a problem? Why is it affecting people so negatively? No degree is worth your mental health; it’s time to look at the cons of homework.  

I believe the real problem with homework is the amount of it. Yes, we need it to learn, but our brains can only handle so much at a time. Oftentimes the standard college workload demands that we push our minds past the limit or face a late penalty. This is what causes the exhaustion and resentment that we constantly push through for the sake of good grades and gold chords.  

 Studies conducted by the American Psychological Association and the U.S. Department of Health say shorter study sessions per day and more consistency over a longer period of time is the best way to retain information while not pushing yourself to your mental limit. However, there is so much to be done that studying for a mere three hours a day isn’t even practical.  

Students would actually be able to study in a healthy way and retain information long term if we were not assigned and asked to complete in one week what psychological studies say should take at least two.   

So, to answer the question: Yes, homework is definitely necessary. The real problem is how much we are required to process in such a short time.   

As finals inch closer by the day, make a point to take care of your mind and give yourself breaks not only while studying but also from other things that can cloud your brain like social media. Coping with huge workloads is a process, so make lists, take deep breaths and get to bed on time. We’re gonna make it; I promise.  

Barber is the off-campus news editor for the Liberty Champion

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What is meaningful work? A philosopher’s view

what is the meaning of homework in english

Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Philosophy, Trinity College Dublin

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Caleb Althorpe receives funding from the Irish Research Council.

Trinity College Dublin provides funding as a member of The Conversation UK.

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Work is an inescapable feature of the modern world. Most of us, except for a lucky few, spend a significant portion of our lives working. If this is the case, we may as well try and make it meaningful. In a 2019 report , 82% of employees reported that it is important to have a purpose in their work and that creating meaningful work was one of their top priorities.

But what exactly makes a particular job an instance of “meaningful work”? Is it just any sort of work people happen to believe is meaningful? Or is it a job with certain objective features?

To answer these questions, we might first think about what makes work meaningless. Take the Greek myth of Sisyphus, whose punishment for misbehaviour was to roll a boulder up a mountain only for it to roll back down just before he reached the top. He had to walk back down and start again, repeating the process forever. Today, we describe laborious and futile tasks as Sisyphean.

The gods knew what they were doing with this punishment – anyone who has spent time doing Sisyphean tasks in their work will understand how soul crushing they can be.

Fyodor Dostoevsky certainly understood this. Partly informed by his own experience in a labour camp, the novelist wrote that : “If one wanted to crush and destroy a man entirely … all one would have to do would be to make him do work that was completely and utterly devoid of usefulness and meaning.”

what is the meaning of homework in english

This article is run in partnership with HowTheLightGetsIn , the world’s largest ideas and music festival, which returns to Hay-on-Wye from May 24-27. On Sunday, May 26, The Conversation’s Avery Anapol will host a live event delving into whether “meaningful work” exists in today’s age. Check out the festival’s full line-up of speakers and don’t miss an exclusive 20% off tickets with code CONVO24.

People may believe such Sisyphean tasks are meaningful (maybe this is the only thing that makes it bearable), but is this belief alone enough to make it so? Many philosophers don’t think so. Instead, they argue that for an activity to be meaningful, it must also contribute to some goal or end that connects the person doing it to something larger than themselves. As philosopher Susan Wolf puts it, meaning requires seeing “one’s life as valuable in a way that can be recognised from a point of view other than one’s own”.

In my own research into the meaning of work, I argue that for a job to be meaningful, it requires some objective feature to connect the worker with a larger framework that extends beyond themselves.

This feature, I suggest, is social contribution: are you making a positive difference with your work? Is your work useful, and does it help others carry out their lives? Confidently answering “yes” to these questions places your work in the larger context of society.

Sisyphean work clearly fails against this standard of social contribution, and so cannot be meaningful. There are, at least according to some studies , a surprising number of jobs like this in modern economies. The recent penchant for “lazy girl jobs” and “fake email jobs” suggest that some young people may actually be seeking out such work as a way to maintain a healthier work-life balance and separate their sense of self from their job.

Read more: This philosophical theory can help you stop taking criticism personally

Another implication of my view is that work cannot be meaningful if it not only fails to help others but actually harms them. Examples might be marketing intentionally defective products, or working in sectors that contribute to the environmental crisis and all its affiliated harms. The phenomenon of “climate quitting” (leaving an employer for environmental reasons) could be seen as the result of people deciding to quit out of a desire for meaningful work.

These examples suggest that a job will not automatically be meaningful just because it contributes to the economy. While market value and social value sometimes overlap (for example, working in a supermarket helps put food in people’s stomachs), these two kinds of value can come apart.

We must think about who benefits from our work, whether their social position means this benefit comes at the cost of others being harmed, and whether there are likely to be unintended negative consequences from our work.

A young woman sitting at a desk with her chin in her hands, looking very bored

Meaningful work within organisations

On top of just asking whether some jobs positively contribute to others, I also suggest that work will struggle to be meaningful when workers do not experience their contributions as palpable. In other words, can you see the contribution you are making in your work, or do you feel abstract and removed?

This is especially relevant to people with jobs in complex companies or large organisations. Most companies do not give ordinary workers influence over big decisions that affect how the company operates in society (such as decisions about what product to produce or service to offer, which markets it operates in and so on). Instead, this influence is limited to managers and executives.

As a result, workers can easily become disconnected and alienated from the social contribution contained in their work, thereby preventing it from being meaningful for them. Take the following from an auditor of a large bank : “Most people at the bank didn’t know why they were doing what they were doing. They would say that they are only supposed to log into this one system … and type certain things in. They didn’t know why.”

The issue here isn’t that the workers aren’t contributing (banks have an important social function after all), but that in their day-to-day work they are completely removed from how they are contributing.

One way to make more work more meaningful for more people would be to think about how large organisations could more democratically involve workers in these sorts of decisions. This could mean giving workers veto powers over strategic decisions, having worker representatives on company boards , or even turning the company into a worker cooperative .

Research suggests democratic arrangements like these can help people find a sense of meaning in their work by connecting them more closely to the positive outcomes that result from it.

A fan of cutting-edge debate and putting ideas at the centre of public life? Then you won’t want to miss HowTheLightGetsIn, the world’s largest ideas and music festival this spring. Returning to Hay-on-Wye from May 24-27, the event will convene world-leading thinkers and Nobel prize-winners including David Petraeus, Roger Penrose, Daniel Dennett, Amy Chua, Peter Singer and Sophie Scott-Brown. A remedy to online echo-chambers, the festival unites speakers across disciplines to chart tangible solutions to the crises of our era.

And don’t miss The Conversation’s live event at the festival on Sunday, May 26 with Avery Anapol delving into whether “meaningful work” exists in today’s age. We’re delighted to offer 20% off tickets with the code CONVO24. Get discounted tickets here .

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What does it mean to be antisemitic? We explain the term and why it's part of the debate over protests.

Pro-Palestinian protest movements have sprung up around the country since police first tried to end an encampment at Columbia University in New York nearly two weeks ago. There have also been numerous instances of antisemitism recorded on campuses since the start of the Israel-Hamas war in October 2023.

As a result, the House approved legislation on Wednesday that attempts to enshrine a single definition of antisemitism to decide when it constitutes an illegal and discriminatory act. The bill's language adopts the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's (IHRA) definition of antisemitism: "Stereotyping, dehumanizing, or demonizing Jews based on their religion."

Amid the controversy over the Israel-Hamas war and the protests it has fueled, the definition of antisemitism itself has become a flashpoint for debate.

Student protestors have accused critics - including some politicians - of conflating speaking out against Israel's government with antisemitism . Netanyahu recently described the college protestors as “antisemitic mobs.”

In an interview with USA TODAY, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) suggested the term “antisemitic” was being weaponized by Netanyahu and by some people who disagree with the protesters.

Prep for the polls: See who is running for president and compare where they stand on key issues in our Voter Guide

“I reject very strongly the suggestion that if people are concerned and raise strong concerns about the military, that makes one antisemitic. That is just not the case,” Sanders said. “I really find it outrageous that Netanyahu wants to hide the outrageous military behavior of his government behind the terrible image of antisemitism.”

Just as criticizing the government of Italy or Ireland does not make one anti-Italian, or anti-Irish, criticizing the government of Israel doesn’t make one anti-Jewish or antisemitic, he said.

But at the same time, Sanders acknowledged that antisemitism and Islamophobia are on the rise.

“I would say to any protestors, whether it is antisemitism or racism against Muslim students, Black students, or gay students, it is unacceptable. It is not what a peace movement is about,” he said. “And I strongly condemn it.”

President Joe Biden also denounced antisemitism on college campuses while defending the right of pro-Palestinian protesters to peacefully demonstrate on Thursday in his first public address on this week’s unrest on college campuses.

“Threatening people, intimidating people, instilling fear in people is not peaceful protest,” said Biden, who had called on Americans on Sunday to speak out against the “ alarming surge of antisemitism ” in the U.S.

More: Why Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene says she voted against the Antisemitism Awareness Act

What does antisemitism look like?

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance notes a few examples of what contemporary antisemitism looks like:

  • Justifying violence or the killing of Jews
  • Stereotyping, dehumanizing, or demonizing Jews based on their religion
  • Denying the Holocaust, claiming Jews created or exaggerated the event that killed millions
  • Holding Jews accountable for the actions of the Israeli state
  • Endorsing debunked conspiracy theories surrounding Jews (ex. Jews were responsible for the death of Jesus, Jews were responsible for the 9/11 attacks.

High-profile celebrities and politicians have spread antisemitic tropes, resulting in condemnation and backlash. President candidate and leading voice in the anti-vaccine movement Robert F. Kennedy Jr. pushed a conspiracy theory last year that COVID-19 was "ethnically targeted and spared Ashkenazi Jewish people as well as Chinese people. The Anti-Defamation League told multiple outlets last year this this rhetoric demonizes Jews and spreads the false conspiracy that they used coronavirus as a weapon against the rest of the population.

More contemporary examples include high-profile celebrities like Ye, former known as Kanye West, that have praised the likes of Adolf Hitler and the crimes committed by Nazi's during WWII. Ye was suspended from X , formerly known as Twitter, after a series of antisemitic posts after appearing on far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones' show. Ye received support from white supremacists for his comments.

Related: Antisemitism is everywhere. We tracked it across all 50 states.

In an interview with USA TODAY last year, Dan Granot, the director of government relations at the Anti-Defamation League said that antisemitism can take many forms.

Often what comes to mind is Nazi symbolism and violence towards Jews, but Granot said it can be much more subtle, like stereotyping Jews as wealthy or illiberal with their finances.

“In many ways, antisemitism, like other forms of hate, is a caricature of a people, and it only looks at the most successful or the most visible and takes those characteristics and presumes that they exist across the entire people,” Granot says. “It often just disregards very clear and important historical aspects of the Jewish people that led them to be in certain industries.”

Dig deeper: Antisemitism is rampant. Campus protests aren't helping things. | The Excerpt

Swapna Venugopal Ramaswamy contributed to the reporting of this story.

NBC Los Angeles

Cinco de Mayo 2024: History, meaning and why we celebrate it

On cinco de mayo, take some time to learn about the history and meaning of this day of remembrance — and how and where it’s celebrated now, by nbc staff • published may 3, 2024.

Sunday marks the 162nd anniversary of Cinco de Mayo. While it's a relatively minor holiday in Mexico , the annual fiesta is an excuse in the United States to indulge in margaritas,  cervezas  (beer), guacamole and tacos.

But what exactly does Cinco de Mayo celebrate? Brush up on its rich history and modern traditions below.

Is Cinco de Mayo the same as Mexican Independence Day?

Many people tend to confuse Cinco de Mayo with “Día de la Independencia,” or Mexico’s Independence Day. That holiday, also known as “El Grito de la Independencia,” is actually observed on Sept. 16, when Mexico celebrates its independence from Spain.

Get Southern California news, weather forecasts and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC LA newsletters.

Why Is Cinco de Mayo celebrated?

what is the meaning of homework in english

In Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is not a celebration but a day of remembrance, commemorating Mexico’s victory over the French during the 1862 Battle of Puebla. An outnumbered Mexican army — led by Ignacio Zaragoza, a 33-year-old Texan from Goliad — defeated the invading French forces at the small town of Puebla de Los Angeles during the Franco-Mexico War.

The retreat of the French troops represented a great victory for the people of Mexico, symbolizing the country’s ability to defend its sovereignty against a powerful foreign nation.

What is the history behind Cinco de Mayo?

what is the meaning of homework in english

The first American Cinco de Mayo celebrations date back to the 1860s, when Mexicans living in California commemorated the victory over France in Puebla. At that time, the United States was embroiled in a Civil War. News of the underdog Mexican army beating back Napoleon III’s forces gave new strength to California’s Latinos, who sought to stop the advances of the Confederate army.

"For Mexicans in the U.S., the Civil War and the French invasion of Mexico were like one war with two fronts. They were concerned about France, which sided with the Confederacy, being on America's doorstep,” David Hayes-Bautista, professor of medicine and director of the Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture at the University of California Los Angeles,  told NBC News .

The tradition of celebrating Cinco de Mayo has continued in Los Angeles without interruption since 1862, according to Hayes-Bautista, although the original reason and the history have gotten lost.

what is the meaning of homework in english

Mexican Independence Day is September 16 — NOT May 5!

what is the meaning of homework in english

14 Margarita Recipes to Celebrate National Margarita Day

Why did cinco de mayo become popular in the us.

4. Popularity of Cinco de Mayo in America

About a century later, Chicano activists rediscovered the holiday and embraced it as a symbol of ethnic pride. But the party-filled Cinco de Mayo that Americans celebrate today didn’t become popular until U.S. beer companies began targeting the Spanish-speaking population in the 1970s and 1980s, Jose Alamillo, a California professor of Chicano studies,  told .

Today, Cinco de Mayo in the U.S. is primarily a celebration of Mexican-American culture, with the largest event in Los Angeles.

What are some authentic Cinco de Mayo recipes?

5. What to Really Eat on Cinco de Mayo

If you want to do Cinco de Mayo right, put down the taco,  por favor . Contrary to popular belief, you won’t find ground beef tacos, nachos and frozen margaritas in Mexico on Cinco de Mayo. The traditional dish eaten in the town of Puebla on their big holiday is mole poblano,  according to the Smithsonian.  

Invented in the late 17th century, mole is a thick sauce made with chocolate, chiles, nuts and other spices. Traditionally, the sauce covers succulent chicken or turkey.

While mole recipes differ from family to family and by state in Mexico, they all have one thing in common: mole represents the heart of Mexican culture because it’s served on the most special of occasions, including weddings, baby showers and holidays.

To make this classic Mexican sauce, try this TODAY recipe from Lourdes Juarez.

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what is the meaning of homework in english



    HOMEWORK definition: 1. work that teachers give their students to do at home: 2. work that teachers give their students…. Learn more.

  2. Homework Definition & Meaning

    The meaning of HOMEWORK is piecework done at home for pay. How to use homework in a sentence. piecework done at home for pay; an assignment given to a student to be completed outside the regular class period…

  3. HOMEWORK Definition & Meaning

    Homework definition: schoolwork assigned to be done outside the classroom (distinguished from classwork).. See examples of HOMEWORK used in a sentence.

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    Definition of homework noun in Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary. Meaning, pronunciation, picture, example sentences, grammar, usage notes, synonyms and more. ... do your homework/ (British English) revision/ a project on something; work on/ write/ do/ submit an essay/ a dissertation/ a thesis/ an assignment/ ...

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    homework: 1 n preparatory school work done outside school (especially at home) Synonyms: prep , preparation Type of: school assignment , schoolwork a school task performed by a student to satisfy the teacher

  6. HOMEWORK definition in American English

    homework in American English. (ˈhoumˌwɜːrk) noun. 1. schoolwork assigned to be done outside the classroom ( distinguished from classwork ) 2. paid work done at home, as piecework. 3. thorough preparatory study of a subject.

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    From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English Related topics: School homework home‧work / ˈhəʊmwɜːk $ ˈhoʊmwɜːrk / S2 noun [uncountable] 1 SES WORK THAT somebody DOES work that a student at school is asked to do at home → classwork For homework, finish the exercise on page 14. 2 PREPARE if you do your homework, you prepare for an ...

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    1. : work that a student is given to do at home. Please do/finish your homework. She started her algebra homework. — compare classwork. 2. : research or reading done in order to prepare for something — used in the phrase do your homework. The candidate did his homework [=studied the issues] before the debate.

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    What is the meaning of "homework"? en. volume_up. homework. chevron_left. Translations Definition Synonyms Pronunciation Examples Translator Phrasebook open_in_new. chevron_right. English definitions powered by Oxford Languages . homework. volume_up. UK /ˈhəʊmwəːk/ noun ...

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  13. homework, n. meanings, etymology and more

    What does the noun homework mean? There are three meanings listed in OED's entry for the noun homework. See 'Meaning & use' for definitions, usage, and quotation evidence. See meaning & use ... homework is formed within English, by compounding. Etymons: home n. 1, work n. See etymology.

  14. The role of homework

    Homework provides continuity between lessons. It may be used to consolidate classwork, but also for preparation for the next lesson. Homework may be used to shift repetitive, mechanical, time-consuming tasks out of the classroom. Homework bridges the gap between school and home. Students, teachers and parents can monitor progress.

  15. What's the point of homework?

    These include to: establish and improve communication between parents and children about learning. help children be more responsible, confident and disciplined. practise or review material from ...

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  17. Making Homework Meaningful

    Making Homework Meaningful. One thing that teaches the lessons of accountability, responsibility, diligence and an appreciation for knowledge is homework. Every student has to do it, and for most kids, it is a necessity in order to do well in school. But its usefulness and whether it's taken seriously are always topics of conversation among ...

  18. Fact check: 'Krowemoh' does not mean 'child abuse' in Latin

    The claim: 'Homework' spelled backward means 'child abuse' in Latin. Many words and phrases are known to have different meanings in other languages, and much of the English vocabulary is derived ...

  19. Is Homework Really Necessary?

    In the very early 1900s, homework was actually considered unhealthy for children and was classified as child labor because it interfered with their ability to do chores around the house.

  20. What is meaningful work? A philosopher's view

    Work is an inescapable feature of the modern world. Most of us, except for a lucky few, spend a significant portion of our lives working. If this is the case, we may as well try and make it ...

  21. What is Cinco de Mayo? Know the meaning, origins of May 5 holiday

    So much more than just a day of drinking and partying, Cinco de Mayo is a day rich in history and culture for Mexico. Celebrated annually on May 5, Cinco de Mayo recognizes Mexico's victory over ...

  22. What is antisemitism? Definition, plus examples of what it looks like

    "In many ways, antisemitism, like other forms of hate, is a caricature of a people, and it only looks at the most successful or the most visible and takes those characteristics and presumes that ...

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  24. AP Credit Policy Search

    Your AP scores could earn you college credit or advanced placement (meaning you could skip certain courses in college). Use this tool to find colleges that offer credit or placement for AP scores. Loading APCP Search App...

  25. Cinco de Mayo 2024: History, meaning and why we celebrate it

    Sunday marks the 162nd anniversary of Cinco de Mayo. While it's a relatively minor holiday in Mexico, the annual fiesta is an excuse in the United States to indulge in margaritas, cervezas (beer ...