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[oh-puh n-wurk] /ˈoʊ pənˌwɜrk/
any kind of work, especially ornamental, as of embroidery, lace, metal, stone, or wood, having a latticelike nature or showing openings through its substance.
Origin of openwork
First recorded in 1590-1600; open + work Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for openwork
Historical Examples
  • openwork in relief, when elaborated and minute in all its parts.

    Carpentry for Boys J. S. Zerbe
  • There is an openwork balustrade which surrounds the platform of the bell tower.

    Notre-Dame de Paris Victor Hugo
  • His trousers were gray rayon, and his footgear was openwork sandals.

    The Golden Skull John Blaine
  • Her openwork stockings were drawn so tight that the skin there also gleamed white.

    A Bed of Roses W. L. George
  • It is surmounted by a crown wrought in openwork and of a fine effect.

  • The chapel is quite unenclosed, except by an openwork balustrade of marble, on which the carving looks very ancient.

  • The result was an openwork pattern heavily encrusted with beautiful fine embroidery.

    The Land of Footprints Stewart Edward White
  • The walls are mostly crowned with an openwork finish made by a simple arrangement of the bricks which is most effective.

  • She was quite shaking with the excitement, and pulled at her openwork mitts with smiling expectancy.

    Patsy S. R. Crockett
  • Through the openwork of the shaft Brett watched as the elevator car rose, greasy cables trembling and swaying.

    It Could Be Anything John Keith Laumer
British Dictionary definitions for openwork


ornamental work, as of metal or embroidery, having a pattern of openings or holes
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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