[ ground-wurk ]
/ ˈgraʊndˌwɜrk /
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foundation or basis: He laid the groundwork for an international conference.
Were you ready for a quiz on this topic? Well, here it is! See how well you can differentiate between the uses of "was" vs. "were" in this quiz.
Question 1 of 7
“Was” is used for the indicative past tense of “to be,” and “were” is only used for the subjunctive past tense.

Origin of groundwork

First recorded in 1540–50; ground1 + work
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What is groundwork?

Groundwork is a foundation or basis.

Groundwork can describe an actual plot of land for a building or construct, but it can also be used figuratively to describe the beginnings of a negotiation or agreement.

Example: I’m laying the groundwork for a new partnership right now.

Where does groundwork come from?

The first records of the term groundwork come from around 1540. It combines the word ground, the surface of the earth, and work, as in “labor” or “toil.” Literally, groundwork is work done on the ground. Figuratively, it describes the beginning work of a new relationship or something similar.

Some examples of physical groundwork include installing a foundation, marking a claim of land, and removing sod or grass from a section of land. Sometimes groundwork is used to describe the beginning steps of a painting or work of art in which the backgrounds or landscapes are drawn before the subject.

Did you know … ?

What are some synonyms for groundwork?

What are some words that share a root or word element with groundwork

What are some words that often get used in discussing groundwork?

How is groundwork used in real life?

Groundwork is often used figuratively in everyday conversations.

Try using groundwork!

True or False?

Groundwork is the last step in a construction project.

How to use groundwork in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for groundwork

/ (ˈɡraʊndˌwɜːk) /

preliminary work as a foundation or basis
the ground or background of a painting, etc
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