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the works

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1

Everything, the full range of possibilities, as in He ordered a pizza with the works, or All right, tell me, give me the works on it. This usage derives from works in the sense of “a complete set of parts for a machine or mechanism.” [Colloquial; late 1800s]

2

A beating or other severe treatment. This usage is often put as give someone the works, as in They took him outside and gave him the works. [Slang; first half of 1900s]

QUIZ
SHALL WE PLAY A "SHALL" VS. "SHOULD" CHALLENGE?
Should you take this quiz on “shall” versus “should”? It should prove to be a quick challenge!
Question 1 of 6
Which form is commonly used with other verbs to express intention?
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

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