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[wurk] /wɜrk/
Henry Clay, 1832–84, U.S. songwriter. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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British Dictionary definitions for henry work


physical or mental effort directed towards doing or making something
paid employment at a job or a trade, occupation, or profession
a duty, task, or undertaking
something done, made, etc, as a result of effort or exertion: a work of art
materials or tasks on which to expend effort or exertion
another word for workmanship (sense 3)
the place, office, etc, where a person is employed
any piece of material that is undergoing a manufacturing operation or process; workpiece
  1. decoration or ornamentation, esp of a specified kind
  2. (in combination): wirework, woolwork
an engineering structure such as a bridge, building, etc
(physics) the transfer of energy expressed as the product of a force and the distance through which its point of application moves in the direction of the force Abbreviation W, w
a structure, wall, etc, built or used as part of a fortification system
at work
  1. at one's job or place of employment
  2. in action; operating
(informal) make short work of, to handle or dispose of very quickly
(modifier) of, relating to, or used for work: work clothes, a work permit
(intransitive) to exert effort in order to do, make, or perform something
(intransitive) to be employed
(transitive) to carry on operations, activity, etc, in (a place or area): that salesman works the southern region
(transitive) to cause to labour or toil: he works his men hard
to operate or cause to operate, esp properly or effectively: to work a lathe, that clock doesn't work
(transitive) to till or cultivate (land)
to handle or manipulate or be handled or manipulated: to work dough
to shape, form, or process or be shaped, formed, or processed: to work copper
to reach or cause to reach a specific condition, esp gradually: the rope worked loose
(transitive) (mainly US & Canadian) to solve (a mathematical problem)
(intransitive) to move in agitation: his face worked with anger
(transitive) often foll by up. to provoke or arouse: to work someone into a frenzy
(transitive) to effect or accomplish: to work one's revenge
to make (one's way) with effort: he worked his way through the crowd
(transitive) to make or decorate by hand in embroidery, tapestry, etc: she was working a sampler
(intransitive) (of a mechanism) to move in a loose or otherwise imperfect fashion
(intransitive) (of liquids) to ferment, as in brewing
(transitive) (informal) to manipulate or exploit to one's own advantage
(transitive) (slang) to cheat or swindle
Derived Forms
workless, adjective
worklessness, noun
Word Origin
Old English weorc (n), wircan, wyrcan (vb); related to Old High German wurchen, German wirken, Old Norse yrkja, Gothic waurkjan
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for henry work



Old English weorc, worc "something done, deed, action, proceeding, business, military fortification," from Proto-Germanic *werkan (cf. Old Saxon, Old Frisian, Dutch werk, Old Norse verk, Middle Dutch warc, Old High German werah, German Werk, Gothic gawaurki), from PIE root *werg- "to work" (see urge (v.)).

Work is less boring than amusing oneself. [Baudelaire, "Mon Coeur mis a nu," 1862]
In Old English, the noun also had the sense of "fornication." Workhouse in the sense of "place where the poor or petty criminals are lodged" first appeared 1650s. Works "industrial place" (usually with qualifying adj.) is attested from 1580s. Work ethic recorded from 1959.


a fusion of Old English wyrcan (past tense worhte, past participle geworht), from Proto-Germanic *wurkijanan; and Old English wircan (Mercian) "to work, operate, function," formed relatively late from Proto-Germanic noun *werkan (see work (n.)). Related: Worked; working. Working class is from 1789 as a noun, 1839 as an adjective.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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henry work in Science
The transfer of energy from one object to another, especially in order to make the second object move in a certain direction. Work is equal to the amount of force multiplied by the distance over which it is applied. If a force of 10 newtons, for example, is applied over a distance of 3 meters, the work is equal to 30 newtons per meter, or 30 joules. The unit for measuring work is the same as that for energy in any system of units, since work is simply a transfer of energy. Compare energy, power.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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henry work in Culture

work definition

In physics, the product of a force applied, and the distance through which that force acts.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for henry work



  1. To go about a place begging, selling, stealing, etc; ply one's often-dishonest trade: She did not deserve charity. She worked the town (1851+)
  2. To exert one's charm, power, persuasiveness, etc, esp on an audience; manipulate: To watch Dick Engberg work the crowd and Al McGuire tossing peanuts to the spectators/ We watched him work the room a bit (1851+)

Related Terms

bullwork, dirty work, donkeywork, grunt work, nice work if you can get it, noodlework, scut

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with henry work
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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