- (used with a singular or plural verb)a place or establishment for manufacturing (often used in combination): ironworks.
- the working parts of a machine: the works of a watch.
- Theology.righteous deeds.
- everything; all related items or matters: a hamburger with the works.
- harsh or cruel treatment: to give someone the works.
verb (used without object), worked or (Archaic) wrought; working.
verb (used with object), worked or ( Archaic except for 29, 31, 34 ) wrought; working.
- to bring or put in; add, merge, or blend: The tailor worked in the patch skillfully. Work the cream into the hands until it is completely absorbed.
- to arrange a time or employment for: The dentist was very busy, but said she would be able to work me in late in the afternoon. They worked him into the new operation.
- to lose or dispose of, as by exercise or labor: We decided to work off the effects of a heavy supper by walking for an hour.
- to pay or fulfill by working: He worked off his debt by doing odd jobs.
- to bring about by work, effort, or action.
- to solve, as a problem.
- to arrive at by or as by calculation.
- to pay (a debt) by working instead of paying money.
- to exhaust, as a mine.
- to issue in a result.
- to evolve; elaborate.
- to amount to (a total or specified figure); add up (to): The total works out to 176.
- to prove effective or successful: Their marriage just didn't work out.
- to practice, exercise, or train, especially in order to become proficient in an athletic sport: The boxers are working out at the gym tonight.
- to study or examine thoroughly: For my term paper I worked over 30 volumes of Roman history.
- Informal.to beat unsparingly, especially in order to obtain something or out of revenge: They threatened to work him over until he talked.
- to move or stir the feelings; excite.
- to prepare; elaborate: Work up some plans.
- to increase in efficiency or skill: He worked up his typing speed to 70 words a minute.
- wordsworth, william,
- work back,
- work both sides of the street,
- work camp,
- work ethic,
- work expands to fill the time available for its completion
- working, as at one's job: He's at work on a new novel.
- in action or operation: to see the machines at work.
- to arrange something: I'll try to work it so that we can all travel together.
- to show off one’s body or clothing to best effect, often through movement or posing: The models were working it on the runway. Work it on the dance floor, baby!
Origin of work
- decoration or ornamentation, esp of a specified kind
- (in combination)wirework; woolwork
- at one's job or place of employment
- in action; operating
Word Origin for 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.
Engaged in a job or other activity, as in The contractor is hard at work on the new building, or The little boy was fascinated to see the washing machine at work. [Early 1600s]
At one's office or other place of business, as in Is it all right if I telephone you at work? [Late 1800s]
In addition to the idioms beginning with work
- work both sides of the street
- worked up, be
- work in
- work it
- work like a beaver
- work like a charm
- work off
- work on
- work one's fingers to the bone
- work one's way
- work out
- work over
- work up
- work wonders
- all in a day's work
- all work and no play
- at work
- busy work
- dirty work
- get down to (work)
- good works
- gum up (the works)
- have one's work cut out
- in the works
- make short work of
- many hands make light work
- out of work
- shoot the works
- the works
- turn (work) out all right