from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A chosen pursuit; a profession or occupation.
  • n. The general course or progression of one's working life or one's professional achievements: an officer with a distinguished career; a teacher in the midst of a long career.
  • n. A path or course, as of the sun through the heavens.
  • n. Speed: "My hasting days fly on with full career” ( John Milton).
  • adj. Doing what one does as a permanent occupation or lifework: career diplomats; a career criminal.
  • intransitive v. To move or run at full speed; rush. See Usage Note at careen.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. One's calling in life; a person's occupation; one's profession.
  • n. An individual’s work and life roles over their lifespan.
  • n. speed
  • n. A jouster's path during a joust.
  • v. To move rapidly straight ahead, especially in an uncontrolled way.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A race course: the ground run over.
  • n. A running; full speed; a rapid course.
  • n. General course of action or conduct in life, or in a particular part or calling in life, or in some special undertaking; usually applied to course or conduct which is of a public character.
  • n. The flight of a hawk.
  • intransitive v. To move or run rapidly.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To move or run rapidly, as if in a race or charge.
  • n. The ground on which a race is run; a race-course; hence, course; path; way.
  • n. A charge or run at full speed, as in justing.
  • n. General course of action or movement; procedure; course of proceeding; a specific course of action or occupation forming the object of one's life: as, “honour's fair career,” Dryden.
  • n. [Sometimes used absolutely to signify a definite or conspicuous career of some kind: as, a man with a career before him.]
  • n. In the manège, a place inclosed with a barrier, in which to run the ring.
  • n. In falconry, a flight or tour of the hawk, about 120 yards.
  • n. A prison; a lock-up; especially, one in a German school or university.
  • n. One of the 8 to 12 stalls, closed with bars, from which races were started in a Roman circus. They were arranged with slanting axes in order not to give an unfair advantage to any competitor.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the particular occupation for which you are trained
  • n. the general progression of your working or professional life
  • v. move headlong at high speed


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

French carrière, from Old French, racecourse, from Old Provençal carriera, street, from Medieval Latin (via) carrāria, (road) for carts, feminine of carrārius, from Latin carrus, a Gallic type of wagon; see kers- in Indo-European roots.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Mid 16th century, from French carrière (a road or racecourse), from Italian carriera, from Old Provençal carreira, from Late Latin carrāria based on Latin carrus 'wheeled vehicle'. Or from Middle French carriere, from Old Provençal/Occitan carriera ("road"), from Late Latin carrāria.


  • I know that when I'm advising students, and they are fretting about career choices, and I ask them, what do you *want* to do with your life -- what do you think will make you happy, most of them, I'd say maybe 70% of them, give me this blank stare: as if *happiness* and *career* could have nothing to do with each other.

    Archive 2007-03-01

  • I have a warm interest in your happiness and career -- yes, _career_ -- I repeat the word.

    Ernest Maltravers — Complete

  • Madrid Number 9 Youth career 19931995 Andorinha 19951997 Nacional 19972001 Sporting CP Senior career* Years Team Apps ‡ (Gls) ‡ 20012003 Sporting CP 25 (3) 20032009 Manchester United 196 - Articles related to Cruyff hands in Barcelona club badge

  • In light of trying to distinguish true democrats from 'corporate democrats' maybe for this Denver mayor's race, the term 'career politician' is actually a good thing in the case of Hancock, Linkhart and Mejia -- meaning we know where you have been working, and it has been in a public arena, not in private backroom deals.

    Wade Norris: Denver's Mayoral Race -- Pay to Play?

  • The for-profit industry, which prefers the term "career colleges" or "proprietary" schools, grew rapidly over the last decade amid renewed calls to increase the nation's college graduation rate and a need to help laid-off workers find new careers.

  • Romney's critics point out that he might have earned the label "career politician" had he not lost his 1994 Senate race.

    The Washington Post: National, World & D.C. Area News and Headlines - The Washington Post

  • The word career derives from the French word carrière, meaning a racecourse.

    Jamaica Gleaner :: Lead Stories

  • Taking no risks in your career is the biggest - and worst - risk of them all.

    Adele Scheele: How to Take More Risk and Advance Your Career in 6 Steps

  • If your career is a hill then the mountain next to it is the rejections accrued.

    A Q&A with Ron McLarty

  • McCargo, who has battled injuries and inconsistent stretches of play, remains on the roster but his career is at a crossroads.

    Buffalo Bills Team Report


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  • "The difference between a job and a career is the difference between forty and sixty hours a week" - Robert Frost

    July 30, 2008

  • Indeed, I was just reading about this! See comments on careen, and also the following:

    "In today's competitive business world, no one would be surprised to learn that career has its roots in horse racing. However, there may have been a time when one's career had more in common with a track than with a race. Career comes from the French word carrière, 'race course,' which entered Old French from Old Provençal carriera, 'street,' and goes back to carrus, the Latin word for a type of wagon. Carrus comes from Gaulish, the language of the Celtic tribes that inhabited the area that is now France both before and during the period of the Roman Empire. The Gaulish word is ultimately from the Indo-European root *kers-, 'to run,' which is also the source of the Latin verb currere, 'to run,' from which English ultimately gets such words as courier.

    "In early use, career had such senses as 'race course,' 'a short gallop at full speed,' 'a rapid course,' and 'the moment of peak activity.' It appears that the sense 'a profession' originated in French carrière, which never acquired the English connotation of haste. Subsequent to the borrowing of English career in the 16th century, carrière came to mean 'the course of the stars and planets through the sky,' 'the course of one's life,' and 'the course of one's profession.' This ultimate sense became associated with the English word in the 19th century, and dotay stands appropriately alongside the native sense 'to rush.'"

    --More Word Histories and Mysteries, From Aardvark to Zombie, from the Editors of the American Heritage (r) Dictionaries, 2006.

    December 31, 2007

  • "Move headlong at high speed"

    compare to careen - "Walk as if unable to control one's movements"

    August 13, 2007