• synonyms


  1. preliminary or initial work, such as the gathering of data, on which further activity is to be based.
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Origin of spadework

First recorded in 1770–80; spade1 + work
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for spadework

Historical Examples of spadework

  • I'm not going to do the spadework and let her reap the harvest.

    The Girls of St. Cyprian's

    Angela Brazil

  • He that has four limbs, and a French heart, can do spadework; and will!

    The French Revolution

    Thomas Carlyle

  • Steal her brainchild, negate all my efforts to make her independent and cheat me of the reward of my spadework.

  • You have to do the spadework in order to be aware of every possibility that might develop?

    Warren Commission (5 of 26): Hearings Vol. V (of 15)

    The President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy

British Dictionary definitions for spadework


  1. dull or routine preparatory work
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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