work or research involving extensive walking or traveling about, usually away from one's office, as in gathering data for a book, a legal action, etc.
action of the legs as executed by an athlete, dancer, etc.

Origin of legwork

An Americanism dating back to 1890–95; leg + work
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for leg-work

Historical Examples of leg-work

  • Im beginning to get a little tired of this leg-work, myself.

    The Motor Boys

    Clarence Young

  • The very essence of the gangman's duty lay in the leg-work he did.

  • In order to secure the effectual combination of body-swing and leg-work, it is essential that the swing should start first.


    Rudolf Chambers Lehmann

British Dictionary definitions for leg-work



informal work that involves travelling on foot or as if on foot
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 leg-work

1891, from leg (n.) + work (n.). Originally news reporter slang for an assignment that produced more walking than text.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper