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[leg-wurk] /ˈlɛgˌwɜrk/
work or research involving extensive walking or traveling about, usually away from one's office, as in gathering data for a book, a legal action, etc.
action of the legs as executed by an athlete, dancer, etc.
Origin of legwork
An Americanism dating back to 1890-95; leg + work Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for leg-work
Historical Examples
  • Im beginning to get a little tired of this leg-work, myself.

    The Motor Boys Clarence Young
  • The very essence of the gangman's duty lay in the leg-work he did.

  • In order to secure the effectual combination of body-swing and leg-work, it is essential that the swing should start first.

    Rowing Rudolf Chambers Lehmann
British Dictionary definitions for leg-work


(informal) work that involves travelling on foot or as if on foot
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 leg-work

1891, from leg (n.) + work (n.). Originally news reporter slang for an assignment that produced more walking than text.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for leg-work


noun phrase

Peripatetic work done outside the office: I figured Wendell must be somewhere close, and I did a little legwork (1891+ Newspaper office)

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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