Idioms

    at work,
    1. working, as at one's job: He's at work on a new novel.
    2. in action or operation: to see the machines at work.
    gum up the works, Slang. to spoil something, as through blundering or stupidity: The surprise party was all arranged, but her little brother gummed up the works and told her.
    in the works, in preparation or being planned: A musical version of the book is in the works.
    make short work of, to finish or dispose of quickly: We made short work of the chocolate layer cake.
    out of work, unemployed; jobless: Many people in the area were out of work.
    shoot the works, Slang. to spend all one's resources: Let's shoot the works and order the crêpes suzette.
    work it, Informal.
    1. to arrange something: I'll try to work it so that we can all travel together.
    2. 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

before 900; (noun) Middle English worke, Old English worc, replacing Middle English werk(e), Old English weorc, cognate with Old Frisian, Old Saxon werk, Old High German werah, werc (German Werk), Old Norse verk, Greek érgon; (v.) Middle English worken, derivative of the noun, replacing Middle English wyrchen, Old English wyrcean; cognate with German wirken, Old Norse verkja, Gothic waurkjan
Related formsnon·work, nounpre·work, verb, pre·worked or pre·wrought, pre·work·ing.pre·work, noun, adjective

Synonyms for work

1. Work, drudgery, labor, toil refer to exertion of body or mind in performing or accomplishing something. Work is the general word and may apply to exertion that is either easy or hard: fun work; heavy work. Drudgery suggests continuous, dreary, and dispiriting work, especially of a menial or servile kind: the drudgery of household tasks. Labor particularly denotes hard manual work: labor on a farm, in a steel mill. Toil suggests wearying or exhausting labor: toil that breaks down the worker's health. 5. enterprise, project, job, responsibility. 2. industry, occupation, business. 3. job, trade, calling, vocation, profession. 7. product, achievement, feat. 16. toil, drudge. 28. operate, manipulate, handle. 29. accomplish, effect, produce, achieve. 34. finish, form, shape. 38. move.

Antonyms for work

1. play, rest.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019


British Dictionary definitions for work out

work out

verb (adverb)

(tr) to achieve or accomplish by effort
(tr) to solve or find out by reasoning or calculationto work out an answer; to work out a sum
(tr) to devise or formulateto work out a plan
(intr) to prove satisfactory or effectivedid your plan work out?
(intr) to happen as specifiedit all worked out well
(intr) to take part in physical exercise, as in training
(tr) to remove all the mineral in (a mine, body of ore, etc) that can be profitably exploited
(intr; often foll by to or at) to reach a totalyour bill works out at a pound
(tr) informal to understand the real nature ofI shall never work you out

noun work-out

a session of physical exercise, esp for training or practice

work

noun

physical or mental effort directed towards doing or making something
paid employment at a job or a trade, occupation, or profession
a duty, task, or undertaking
something done, made, etc, as a result of effort or exertiona work of art
materials or tasks on which to expend effort or exertion
another word for workmanship (def. 3)
the place, office, etc, where a person is employed
any piece of material that is undergoing a manufacturing operation or process; workpiece
  1. decoration or ornamentation, esp of a specified kind
  2. (in combination)wirework; woolwork
an engineering structure such as a bridge, building, etc
physics the transfer of energy expressed as the product of a force and the distance through which its point of application moves in the direction of the forceAbbreviation: W, w
a structure, wall, etc, built or used as part of a fortification system
at work
  1. at one's job or place of employment
  2. in action; operating
make short work of informal to handle or dispose of very quickly
(modifier) of, relating to, or used for workwork clothes; a work permit

verb

(intr) to exert effort in order to do, make, or perform something
(intr) to be employed
(tr) to carry on operations, activity, etc, in (a place or area)that salesman works the southern region
(tr) to cause to labour or toilhe works his men hard
to operate or cause to operate, esp properly or effectivelyto work a lathe; that clock doesn't work
(tr) to till or cultivate (land)
to handle or manipulate or be handled or manipulatedto work dough
to shape, form, or process or be shaped, formed, or processedto work copper
to reach or cause to reach a specific condition, esp graduallythe rope worked loose
(tr) mainly US and Canadian to solve (a mathematical problem)
(intr) to move in agitationhis face worked with anger
(tr often foll by up) to provoke or arouseto work someone into a frenzy
(tr) to effect or accomplishto work one's revenge
to make (one's way) with efforthe worked his way through the crowd
(tr) to make or decorate by hand in embroidery, tapestry, etcshe was working a sampler
(intr) (of a mechanism) to move in a loose or otherwise imperfect fashion
(intr) (of liquids) to ferment, as in brewing
(tr) informal to manipulate or exploit to one's own advantage
(tr) slang to cheat or swindle
Derived Formsworkless, adjectiveworklessness, noun

Word Origin for work

Old English weorc (n), wircan, wyrcan (vb); related to Old High German wurchen, German wirken, Old Norse yrkja, Gothic waurkjan
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

Word Origin and History for work out

work

n.

Old English weorc, worc "something done, deed, action, proceeding, business, military fortification," from Proto-Germanic *werkan (cf. Old Saxon, Old Frisian, Dutch werk, Old Norse verk, Middle Dutch warc, Old High German werah, German Werk, Gothic gawaurki), from PIE root *werg- "to work" (see urge (v.)).

Work is less boring than amusing oneself. [Baudelaire, "Mon Coeur mis a nu," 1862]

In Old English, the noun also had the sense of "fornication." Workhouse in the sense of "place where the poor or petty criminals are lodged" first appeared 1650s. Works "industrial place" (usually with qualifying adj.) is attested from 1580s. Work ethic recorded from 1959.

work

v.

a fusion of Old English wyrcan (past tense worhte, past participle geworht), from Proto-Germanic *wurkijanan; and Old English wircan (Mercian) "to work, operate, function," formed relatively late from Proto-Germanic noun *werkan (see work (n.)). Related: Worked; working. Working class is from 1789 as a noun, 1839 as an adjective.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

work out in Science

work

[wûrk]

The transfer of energy from one object to another, especially in order to make the second object move in a certain direction. Work is equal to the amount of force multiplied by the distance over which it is applied. If a force of 10 newtons, for example, is applied over a distance of 3 meters, the work is equal to 30 newtons per meter, or 30 joules. The unit for measuring work is the same as that for energy in any system of units, since work is simply a transfer of energy. Compare energy power.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

work out in Culture

work

In physics, the product of a force applied, and the distance through which that force acts.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with work out

work out

1

Accomplish by work or effort, as in I think we can work out a solution to this problem. [1500s] For work out all right, see turn out all right.

2

Find a solution for, solve, as in They hoped to work out their personal differences, or Can you help me work out this equation? [Mid-1800s]

3

Formulate or develop, as in We were told to work out a new plan, or He's very good at working out complicated plots. [Early 1800s]

4

Discharge a debt by working instead of paying money, as in She promised she'd work out the rest of the rent by baby-sitting for them. [Second half of 1600s]

5

Prove effective or successful, as in I wonder if their marriage will work out.

6

Have a specific result, add up, as in It worked out that she was able to go to the party after all, or The total works out to more than a million. [Late 1800s]

7

Engage in strenuous exercise for physical conditioning, as in He works out with weights every other day. [1920s]

8

Exhaust a resource, such as a mine, as in This mine has been completely worked out. [Mid-1500s]

work

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

also see:

  • 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
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.