- (used with a singular or plural verb) a place or establishment for manufacturing (often used in combination): ironworks.
- the working parts of a machine: the works of a watch.
- Theology. righteous deeds.
- everything; all related items or matters: a hamburger with the works.
- harsh or cruel treatment: to give someone the works.
verb (used without object), worked or (Archaic) wrought; working.
verb (used with object), worked or ( Archaic except for 29, 31, 34 ) wrought; working.
- to bring or put in; add, merge, or blend: The tailor worked in the patch skillfully. Work the cream into the hands until it is completely absorbed.
- to arrange a time or employment for: The dentist was very busy, but said she would be able to work me in late in the afternoon. They worked him into the new operation.
- to lose or dispose of, as by exercise or labor: We decided to work off the effects of a heavy supper by walking for an hour.
- to pay or fulfill by working: He worked off his debt by doing odd jobs.
- to bring about by work, effort, or action.
- to solve, as a problem.
- to arrive at by or as by calculation.
- to pay (a debt) by working instead of paying money.
- to exhaust, as a mine.
- to issue in a result.
- to evolve; elaborate.
- to amount to (a total or specified figure); add up (to): The total works out to 176.
- to prove effective or successful: Their marriage just didn't work out.
- to practice, exercise, or train, especially in order to become proficient in an athletic sport: The boxers are working out at the gym tonight.
- to study or examine thoroughly: For my term paper I worked over 30 volumes of Roman history.
- Informal. to beat unsparingly, especially in order to obtain something or out of revenge: They threatened to work him over until he talked.
- to move or stir the feelings; excite.
- to prepare; elaborate: Work up some plans.
- to increase in efficiency or skill: He worked up his typing speed to 70 words a minute.
- working, as at one's job: He's at work on a new novel.
- in action or operation: to see the machines at work.
- to arrange something: I'll try to work it so that we can all travel together.
- to show off one’s body or clothing to best effect, often through movement or posing: The models were working it on the runway. Work it on the dance floor, baby!
Origin of work
SYNONYMS FOR work
Related formsnon·work, nounpre·work, verb, pre·worked or pre·wrought, pre·work·ing.pre·work, noun, adjective
British Dictionary definitions for the works
- decoration or ornamentation, esp of a specified kind
- (in combination)wirework; woolwork
- at one's job or place of employment
- in action; operating
Derived Formsworkless, adjectiveworklessness, noun
Word Origin for work
Science definitions for the works
Culture definitions for the works
Idioms and Phrases with the works (1 of 2)
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]
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]
Idioms and Phrases with the works (2 of 2)
In addition to the idioms beginning with work
- work both sides of the street
- worked up, be
- work in
- work it
- work like a beaver
- work like a charm
- work off
- work on
- work one's fingers to the bone
- work one's way
- work out
- work over
- work up
- work wonders
- all in a day's work
- all work and no play
- at work
- busy work
- dirty work
- get down to (work)
- good works
- gum up (the works)
- have one's work cut out
- in the works
- make short work of
- many hands make light work
- out of work
- shoot the works
- the works
- turn (work) out all right