[verb out-wurk; noun out-wurk]

verb (used with object), out·worked or out·wrought, out·work·ing.

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 formsout·work·er, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for outwork

Contemporary Examples of outwork

Historical Examples of outwork

  • 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.

British Dictionary definitions for outwork


noun (ˈaʊtˌwɜːk)

(often plural) defences which lie outside main defensive works
work performed away from the factory, office, etc, by which it has been commissioned

verb (ˌaʊtˈwɜːk) -works, -working, -worked or -wrought (tr)

to work better, harder, etc, than
to work out to completion
Derived Formsoutworker, 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