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I'm trying to reference a business process in which a document has to be approved by several different people before it is finalized. I want to be able to say things like:

We've modified the workflow to include an additional step.

and

The workflow currently requires approval by three people.

Merriam-Webster Unabridged does not have an entry for "workflow", but I see many people using it anyway. Is it a word or not? If so, is there a good dictionary definition of it?

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Dictionaries lag usage, and terms from fast-changing areas like business and technology won't always be reflected. But then, maybe you just need to try different dictionaries. Cambridge has it, as do MacMillan, American Heritage, Oxford, and so on. –  choster Apr 10 '13 at 18:27
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closed as general reference by Carlo_R., Hellion, tchrist, kiamlaluno, aedia λ Apr 11 '13 at 0:11

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

2 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

The OED’s earliest citation is from 1950, but as two words. It is defined as

in an office or industrial organization, the sequence of processes through which a piece of work passes from initiation to completion.

Whether or not it is in any dictionary is not in itself an indication of whether or not it is a word.

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Yes, workflow is a word.

Noun - The flow or amount of work to and from an office, department, or employee.

http://m.dictionary.com/d/?q=workflow

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