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[verb out-wurk; noun out-wurk] /verb ˌaʊtˈwɜrk; noun ˈaʊtˌwɜrk/
verb (used with object), outworked or outwrought, outworking.
to work harder, better, or faster than.
to work out or carry on to a conclusion; finish:
a problem to be outworked in after generations.
Archaic. to outdo in workmanship.
a minor defense built or established outside the principal fortification limits.
Origin of outwork
1200-50; Middle English: to complete; see out-, work
Related forms
outworker, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for outwork
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • An outwork which has three salient angles at the head and two inwards.

    The Sailor's Word-Book William Henry Smyth
  • Good fame is an outwork that defends them all and renders them all valuable.

    Pearls of Thought Maturin M. Ballou
  • Good fame is an outwork, that defends them all, and renders them all valuable.

  • The wonder is, that they have not fortified the rock as an outwork to their fort.

    Syd Belton George Manville Fenn
  • It took a fortnight's hard work before the outwork was completed.

    Won by the Sword G.A. Henty
  • In the centre of the stream there is an island, and upon this an outwork was constructed.

  • Barras or barrace is a barrier or outwork before a fortress, usually of wood.

    The Bruce John Barbour
  • Work harder than the next man, who is going to try to outwork you.

    Stover at Yale Owen Johnson
  • The outwork was therefore recovered by the besieged—were they able to keep it?

    Annals of a Fortress E. Viollet-le-Duc
British Dictionary definitions for outwork


noun (ˈaʊtˌwɜːk)
(often pl) defences which lie outside main defensive works
work performed away from the factory, office, etc, by which it has been commissioned
verb (transitive) (ˌaʊtˈwɜːk) -works, -working, -worked, -wrought
to work better, harder, etc, than
to work out to completion
Derived Forms
outworker, noun
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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