(often in combination) formed, fashioned, or worked as specified: well-wrought
decorated or made with delicate care
Etymology: 16th Century: variant of worht, from Old English geworht, past participle of (ge)wyrcan to work USAGE Wrought is sometimes used as if it were the past tense and past participle of wreak as in the hurricane wrought havoc in coastal areas. Many people think this use is incorrect
work/wɜrk/USA pronunciationn., adj., v.,worked or ( Archaic except in some senses, esp. 35, 37.40. in Unabridged dictionary) wrought/rɔt/USA pronunciation ; work•ing. n.
the use of effort or action to produce or accomplish something; labor:[uncountable]Cleaning that whole house is a lot of work.
a task or something to do or be done:[uncountable]The students finished their work in class.
productive activity, esp. a job or employment:[uncountable]He's been looking for work ever since he graduated.
a place of employment:[uncountable]Don't phone me at work.
something on which work is being or is to be done:[uncountable]I have enough work here on my desk to last all month.
the result of exertion, labor, or activity, as a building, book, work of art, etc.: [countable]the collected works of Robert Louis Stevenson; Bach's musical works.[uncountable]a shoemaker who takes pride in his work.
Civil Engineering something, as a wall, built as a means of fortification:[countable]an earthen work built as a barrier.
Mechanical Engineering[countable] a place or establishment for manufacturing: [singular; used with a singular verb]A new steel works is to be built there.[plural; used with a plural verb]The steel works are not yet built.
Mechanical Engineering[plural; used with a plural verb] the working parts of a machine:The works of the watch are broken.
Physics[uncountable]the transfer of energy measured by multiplying the amount of force by the distance through which it acts.
Informal Termsthe works,[plural]
everything:She wants a hamburger with the works: pickles, cheese, tomatoes, and onions.
unpleasant or nasty treatment:She gave him the works for betraying her.
adj.[before a noun]
of, for, or concerning work:work clothes.
to do work:[no object]The mechanic had to work for two hours on that car.
to be employed (at): [no object]She works at a factory.[~ + object]He's working two jobs.
to cause to work:[~ + object]That new boss works his employees hard.
to use or operate (an apparatus, machine, etc.):[~ + object]She works a gigantic steam press machine.
to be functional, as a machine; operate:[no object]He got the machine to work again.
to prove effective:[no object]This plan works.
to (cause to) come to be, as by repeated movement: [no object]The nails worked loose.[~ + object]The nails worked themselves loose.
to have an effect (on), as on a person's feelings: [no object]Don't try tears and crying; that doesn't work on him.[~ + object]Diet and exercise worked wonders on him.
to cause a strong emotion in:[~ + object]That speaker is able to work crowds into a frenzy.
to bring about by or as if by work:[~ + object]to work a change for the better.
to make or fashion by work:[~ + object]to work a piece of sculpture with one's hands.
to make (one's way) with effort: [~ + object]We worked our way slowly through the crowd.[no object]We worked slowly through the crowd.
to carry on business, etc., operations in (a place or region):[~ + object]He worked the Atlantic Coast for sales and advertising.
work in or into,[~ + object + in/into + object] to include after some effort:Try to work me into your schedule.
work off, to get rid of: [~ + off + object]to work off a few pounds by exercising.[~ + object + off]to work a few pounds off by exercising.
work on,[~ + on + object] to try to influence or persuade:He tried to work on them to drop the lawsuit.
to solve, as a problem: [~ + out + object]to work out a problem between friends.[~ + object + out]We can work it out.
to arrive at by or as if by calculation: [~ + out + object]to work out a new schedule.[~ + object + out]to work a new schedule out with the boss.
to prove effective or suitable: [no object]Their marriage just didn't work out.[~ + object + out]Things have a way of working themselves out.
[no object] to amount:The bill works out to almost fifty dollars each, including (the) tip.
[no object] to exercise or train, esp. in an athletic sport.
to study or examine carefully or thoroughly: [~ + over + object]The accountant worked over the figures.[~ + object + over]to work the figures over.
Informal Termsto beat or hurt (someone) completely, fiercely, etc.: [~ + over + object]The gang worked over their latest victim and left him dying in the street.[~ + object + over]They really worked him over.
work through,[~ + through + object] to deal with successfully:to work through one's problems.
to stir the feelings of; excite: [~ + up + object]to work up the crowd into a frenzy.[~ + object + up]to work the crowd up.
to prepare; develop: [~ + up + object]to work up a plan.[~ + object + up]to work a plan up.
[~ + up + object] to develop by exercise or exertion:to work up a sweat.
working, as at one's job:I'm at work between nine and five.
Idiomsin the works, in preparation:His new book is still in the works.
work(wûrk),USA pronunciationn., adj., v.,worked or (Archaic except for 35, 37, 40) wrought; working. n.
exertion or effort directed to produce or accomplish something; labor; toil.
something on which exertion or labor is expended; a task or undertaking:The students finished their work in class.
productive or operative activity.
employment, as in some form of industry, esp. as a means of earning one's livelihood:to look for work.
one's place of employment:Don't phone him at work.
materials, things, etc., on which one is working or is to work.
the result of exertion, labor, or activity; a deed or performance.
a product of exertion, labor, or activity:musical works.
Civil Engineeringan engineering structure, as a building or bridge.
Civil Engineeringa building, wall, trench, or the like, constructed or made as a means of fortification.
Mechanical Engineering(used with a sing. or pl. v.) a place or establishment for manufacturing (often used in combination):ironworks.
Mechanical Engineeringthe working parts of a machine:the works of a watch.
Physicsforce times the distance through which it acts; specifically, the transference of energy equal to the product of the component of a force that acts in the direction of the motion of the point of application of the force and the distance through which the point of application moves.
working, as at one's job:He's at work on a new novel.
in action or operation:to see the machines at work.
Slang Termsgum up the works, 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.
Slang Termsshoot the works, to spend all one's resources:Let's shoot the works and order the crêpes suzette.
Informal Termsthe works:
everything; all related items or matters:a hamburger with the works.
harsh or cruel treatment:to give someone the works.
of, for, or concerning work:work clothes.
Metallurgyworking (def. 18).
to do work; labor.
to be employed, esp. as a means of earning one's livelihood:He hasn't worked for six weeks.
to be in operation, as a machine.
to act or operate effectively:The pump will not work. The plan works.
to attain a specified condition, as by repeated movement:The nails worked loose.
to have an effect or influence, as on a person or on the mind or feelings of a person.
to move in agitation, as the features under strong emotion.
to make way with effort or under stress:The ship works to windward.
Nauticalto give slightly at the joints, as a vessel under strain at sea.
Mechanical Engineering[Mach.]to move improperly, as from defective fitting of parts or from wear.
to undergo treatment by labor in a given way:This dough works slowly.
Chemistryto ferment, as a liquid.
to use or manage (an apparatus, contrivance, etc.):She can work many business machines.
to bring about (any result) by or as by work or effort:to work a change.
to manipulate or treat by labor:to work butter.
to put into effective operation.
to operate (a mine, farm, etc.) for productive purposes:to work a coal mine.
to carry on operations in (a district or region).
to make, fashion, or execute by work.
to achieve or win by work or effort:to work one's passage.
to keep (a person, a horse, etc.) at work:She works her employees hard.
to influence or persuade, esp. insidiously:to work other people to one's will.
Informal Termsto exploit (someone or something) to one's advantage:See if you can work your uncle for a new car.He worked his charm in landing a new job.
Clothingto make or decorate by needlework or embroidery:She worked a needlepoint cushion.
to cause fermentation in.
work in or into:
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.
work on or upon, to exercise influence on; persuade; affect:I'll work on her, and maybe she'll change her mind.
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, esp. 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 Termsto beat unsparingly, esp. in order to obtain something or out of revenge:They threatened to work him over until he talked.
work through, to deal with successfully; come to terms with:to work through one's feelings of guilt.
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.
work up to, rise to a higher position; advance:He worked up to the presidency.
bef. 900; (noun, nominal) 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; (verb, verbal) Middle English worken, derivative of the noun, nominal, replacing Middle English wyrchen, Old English wyrcean; cognate with German wirken, Old Norse verkja, Gothic waurkjan
1.See corresponding entry in UnabridgedWork,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, esp. 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.
2.See corresponding entry in Unabridged enterprise, project, job, responsibility.
3.See corresponding entry in Unabridged industry, occupation, business.
4.See corresponding entry in Unabridged job, trade, calling, vocation, profession.
7.See corresponding entry in Unabridged product, achievement, feat.
22.See corresponding entry in Unabridged toil, drudge.
34.See corresponding entry in Unabridged operate, manipulate, handle.
35.See corresponding entry in Unabridged accomplish, effect, produce, achieve.
40.See corresponding entry in Unabridged finish, form, shape.
43.See corresponding entry in Unabridged move.
1.See corresponding entry in Unabridged play, rest.