What does the word "public worker" mean? I have searched through Internet and there was no definition for the word public worker. However, i found a definition for the word "public works" which according to the dictionary it means projects set up by the government for public use such as roads, bridges, schools and etc. Based on what "public works" mean, i have thought public worker could mean someone who is involved with public works. I am not sure if i am right or not, so i just wanted to ask here.

Please help me.


1 Answer 1


A "public worker" is someone who works for the government. It would include teachers at public schools (i.e. government-run schools), policemen, bureaucrats, etc.

"Public works" means government-run construction projects. So a public worker might well be involved in public works, but they also could be doing many other things.

I should clarify that this is American usage. I don't know if it's different in other English-speaking countries. I think it's the sort of word that might be.

  • 3
    I think civil servant is a similar word, but with different usage.
    – oerkelens
    Commented Mar 20, 2015 at 12:37
  • Yes, I think "civil servant" means pretty much the same as "public worker". If there's a distinction, I'm not sure what it is. Most civil servants I've meet are neither civil nor act like servants, so I think it's a pretty misleading term.
    – Jay
    Commented Mar 20, 2015 at 12:42
  • 3
    I'd add that often, private companies are hired to build public works like bridges or givernment buildings. The company's employees don't work for the government, so many people involved in building a public works are not public employees.
    – Karen
    Commented Mar 20, 2015 at 13:06
  • @Karen Quite true.
    – Jay
    Commented Mar 20, 2015 at 15:21
  • 1
    @Joe In the US, "civil servant" certainly doesn't mean "every public employee" - in addition to excluding the military, elected officials and political appointees are not civil servants. Civil servants are career government employees who are hired, promoted, assigned, and disciplined through a bureaucracy, with protection from political interference. High-level officials who are politically appointed might be called "public servants" in their official bios, but wouldn't be considered civil servants.
    – cpast
    Commented Mar 20, 2015 at 21:44

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