• synonyms


See more synonyms for earthwork on Thesaurus.com
  1. excavation and piling of earth in connection with an engineering operation.
  2. Military. a construction formed chiefly of earth for protection against enemy fire, used in both offensive and defensive operations.
  3. an artistic work that consists of a large-scale alteration or modification of an area of land in a configuration designed by an artist or of an artist's sculptural installation, as in a museum or gallery, of soil, rock, or similar elemental materials.
Show More

Origin of earthwork

First recorded in 1625–35; earth + work
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for earthwork

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • A part of the earthwork can still be seen in the garden of a Hockingport residence.

    Chronicles of Border Warfare

    Alexander Scott Withers

  • The road bed may be shaped in connection with the other earthwork.

  • From the fuss it was apparent that the abattis and earthwork had succumbed.

    The Long Roll

    Mary Johnston

  • Along the brow of this hill upon which we are standing was an earthwork.

    IT and Other Stories

    Gouverneur Morris

  • We concentrated our guns on him as he crouched behind this earthwork.

    The Clansman

    Thomas Dixon

British Dictionary definitions for earthwork


  1. excavation of earth, as in engineering construction
  2. a fortification made of earth
Show More
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

Word Origin and History for earthwork


1630s, from earth + work (n.). In this sense Old English had eorðbyrig; Old English eorðweorc meant "work on the land."

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper