the works


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]

QUIZZES

WHO SAID IT: A QUIZ ON PRESIDENTIAL WIT AND WISDOM

Think you know your presidents? Take this quiz and see if you can match the style, wit, and ideology of these memorable lines to the right POTUS.
Question 1 of 9
“I do believe that the buck stops here, that I cannot rely upon public opinion polls to tell me what is right. I do believe that right makes might and that if I am wrong, 10 angels swearing I was right would make no difference.”
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.