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See more synonyms for workhorse on Thesaurus.com
  1. a horse used for plowing, hauling, and other heavy labor, as distinguished from a riding horse, racehorse, etc.
  2. a person who works tirelessly at a task, assumes extra duties, etc.
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Origin of workhorse

First recorded in 1535–45; work + horse
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for workhorse


  1. a horse used for nonrecreational activities
  2. informal a person who takes on the greatest amount of work in a project or job
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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

Word Origin and History for workhorse


1540s, from work (n.) + horse (n.). Figurative use by 1949.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper