phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Working knowledge

Posted by R. Berg on January 21, 2003

In Reply to: Working knowledge? posted by masakim on January 21, 2003

: : I need the definition of the phrase "working knowledge".

: working
: ADJECTIVE: 4b. Adequate for practical use: a working knowledge of Spanish.
: From _The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition_

: working knowledge n.
: knowledge adequate to work with.
: From _The Pocket Oxford Dictionary of Current English_
: ----------
: Close study of relevant pairs of words reveals that it is never safe to assume that there is a working model that will apply in all cases. Fortunately, for the most part, standard speakers instinctively acquire a *working knowledge* of the dominant patterns in current English, though they would be hard put to it to explain why they use a particular form and not another. Thus everyone knows that _instability_ corresponds to _unstable_, and that _imbalance_ corresponds to _unbalanced_. (_The New Fowler's Modern English Usage_, 1968)

The relevant part of one definition of "working" in the unabridged second edition of Webster's is "adequate to permit work to be done."