Past tense and past participle worked
α. eOE vvyrcan, OE uyrca (Northumbrian), OE wuirca (Northumbrian), OE wurcan (rare), OE wyrcan, OE wyrcean, OE wyrcgan (rare), OE wyrhcan (rare), OE wyrican (rare), OE wyricean (rare), OE wyrycan (rare), lOE wyrchan (Kentish), lOE wyrecan, eME wrch (perhaps transmission error), eME wrche, eME wuerche, eME wurce, ME wourche (south-western), ME (south-western)–15 wurch, ME (chiefly west midlands)–15 wurche.
eOE Bald's Leechbk.
ii. li. 264
Heræfter sint lungenadla laðlicu tacn..& hu mon læcedomas wiþ þon wyrcean scyle.
OE (Northumbrian) Lindisf. Gospels: Matt. xxi. 28
Uade hodie operare in uinea mea : gaa todæge wuirc in wingeard minne.
OE West Saxon Gospels: Luke
Lareow, teonan þu wyrhcst us mid þisse sage.
OE Ælfric Homily: De Duodecim Abusivis
(Corpus Cambr. 178)
in R. Morris Old Eng. Homilies
1st Ser. 300
On manegum wisum man mæg wyrcan [a1225 Lamb. wurchen] ælmyssan.
in S. Irvine Old Eng. Homilies
Ane wurcð wundræ ðurh his mihte.
MS Trin. Cambr. in R. Morris Old Eng. Homilies
2nd Ser. 41
Mid mede man mai ouer water faren, And mid weldede of giue frend wuerche.
Owl & Nightingale
He wile of bore wrchen [a1300 Jesus Oxf. wurche] bareȝ.
Chron. Robert of Gloucester
App. XX. 845
Hi þoute wourche wo.
Lydgate Minor Poems
With feyth truly for to wurch.
?1548 J. Bale Comedy Thre Lawes Nature iv. sig. Dviij
In Gods seruyce, they honourablye wurche.
β. OE uirca (Northumbrian), OE vvircan (rare), OE wircan, OE wircean, lOE wirchan (Kentish), eME wirce, eME wyrcce, eME wyrce, eME wyrlce (transmission error), ME whirche, ME wirch, ME wirche, ME wyrch, ME–15 wyrche, lME which (transmission error), 15 wirtch.
eOE (Mercian) Vespasian Psalter
Qui..operatur iustitiam : se..wirceð rehtwisnisse.
lOE Canterbury Psalter vi. 9
Discedite a me omnes qui operamini iniquitatem : gewitæð from me eælle þæ þe unriht wirchað.
in S. Irvine Old Eng. Homilies
Him ȝedafenode to wyrccenne his weorc.
Owl & Nightingale
Clerkes ginneþ songes wirche.
Þat never þai no lan Þe pouer to wirche wo.
c1425 tr. J. Arderne Treat. Fistula
Þe place wher arsenek is putte in, if it wirch perfitely, shal bycome blo & bolned.
a1450 St. Edith
Elburwe þat religyose house let after whirche.
1509 H. Watson tr. S. Brant Shyppe of Fooles
lxxxxv. sig. Aa.iiiv
In good operacyons loke ye wyrche.
1577 [implied in: R. Stanyhurst Treat. Descr. Irelande ii. f. 4v/1, in R. Holinshed Chron. I
Beyng moderately taken..it [sc. Aqua vitæ] kepeth..the belly from wirtchyng [at ].].
γ. eOE werð (Kentish, 3rd singular indicative, perhaps transmission error), OE weorcan (rare), OE weorcean (rare), OE wercan (rare), eME verhs (transmission error), eME weorce, eME weorche (south-western), eME werce, eME wereche (south-western), eME wrec (imperative, perhaps transmission error), ME werch, ME (15 in print of lost ME MS) werche.
OE Blickling Homilies 67
Þu scealt on æghwylce tid Godes willan wercan.
OE Monasteriales Indicia
Lege þu þine swyðran hand under þin hleor and werc rodetacen on þin heofod foran.
OE tr. Chrodegang of Metz Regula Canonicorum
(Corpus Cambr. 191)
And þonne hi ne þurfon gemæne worc weorcean, wirce ælc sum þing þæs þe his agen neod sy.
in A. O. Belfour 12th Cent. Homilies in MS Bodl. 343
Weorcæð medemæ wæstmæs reowsungæ.
Rule St. Benet
We synd ȝelerede be ȝewyrhton, þæt we urne aȝene willan ne weorcean.
Al ich wolle werechen after þine wille.
Langland Piers Plowman
(Trin. Cambr. R.3.14)
A. x. l. 75
Werche he wel oþer wrong, þe wyt is his owene.
Usk's Test. Love in W. W. Skeat Chaucerian & Other Pieces
If fyr be in place chafinge thing able to be chafed..the oon may werche, the other shal suffre.
δ. eME wirrkenn ( Ormulum), ME wirc, ME wirck, ME wirkke, ME wrick, ME wrik, ME wryk, ME wyrc, ME wyrkk- (inflected form), ME–15 wirke, ME–15 wyrcke, ME–15 wyrk, ME–15 wyrke, ME–15 (18– Eng. regional (Yorkshire)) wirk, lME wyke (transmission error); Sc. pre-17 virke, pre-17 vyrk, pre-17 wryk (perhaps transmission error), pre-17 wyirk, pre-17 wyrk, pre-17 wyrke, pre-17 17– wirk, pre-17 18 virk. In Middle English, chiefly northern and north midlands
To wirrkenn allmess werrkess.
Þi will to wirc.
R. Mannyng Chron.
Conseiled þem boþe to-gyder How þey schuld wyrke.
J. Barbour Bruce
(St. John's Cambr.)
He thoucht to virk with slicht.
1530 J. Palsgrave Lesclarcissement 783/1
I wyrke... Declared in ‘I worke’.
1549 R. Crowley Voyce Laste Trumpet sig. Bii
For to wyrcke.
1621 A. Montgomerie Flyting with Polwart 431
That this worme..some wonders may wirk.
1724 A. Ramsay Vision in Ever Green I. xxiv
Lat them..stryve to wirk my fall.
1880 J. E. Watt Poet. Sketches 59
To wirk some orra beast, or drive a milk shilt.
?2002 I. W. D. Forde Hale ir Sindries ii. 118
A retoured ti wirkin in ane offish an didna hae mair nor a curn contraks wi Rab Broun.
ε. ME wroche, ME–15 worche, ME–15 (18– Eng. regional (Shropshire)) worch, lME worsche, lME worthe (transmission error), 15 woorchen (arch.), 18 wortch (Eng. regional (Lancashire)).
Þe king in-to chirche gon wenden Godes werk to worchen. and masse þer iherden.
Wyclif Eng. Wks.
Þei wolen not..worsche aftir good conscience.
1566 T. Drant tr. Horace Medicinable Morall sig. Ivj
To woorchen all our will.
1865 E. Waugh Lancs. Songs 24
When a mon's honestly willin' To wortch.
1879 G. F. Jackson Shropshire Word-bk. 488
This 'ere tuth worches me above a bit.
ζ. ME verke, ME werc, ME–15 werke, ME–15 (18– Eng. regional (northern)) werk, 15 weorke; Sc. pre-17 weirk, pre-17 werk.
He..freteð hem [emended to him in ed.] al ðan he him iuel werkeð.
Þe werckes þat i werc.
Chaucer Canon's Yeoman's Tale
As for to werken any thyng in contrarie.
1526 W. Bonde Pylgrimage of Perfection iii. sig. BBBi
It can werke no effect.
i. i. 4
Avaryce maie weorke factes.
1875 E. Tweddell Rhymes Cleveland Dial. 9
Be up, mon, an' werk whaile te'syabble.
η. ME–16 worke, lME– work, 15 woork, 15 (18 Eng. regional) wurk, 15–16 woorke, 15–16 worcke, 16 worck; Sc. pre-17 uoork, pre-17 uorke, pre-17 vork, pre-17 vurk, pre-17 worke, pre-17 wourk, pre-17 wourke, pre-17 17– work, pre-17 18– wurk.
Chron. Robert of Gloucester
Me wolde wene þat in þis lond no ston to worke nere.
1445–6 Rolls of Parl.: Henry VI
Parl. Feb. 1445 §30. m. 8
All the saide wardeyns..have full power to oversee the workemanshipp of the saide craftymen, and that thei make and work well and truely.
1551 R. Crowley Pleasure & Payne Ded. sig. Aiiv
The lorde work in the hertis of the rych.
1581 in J. Cranstoun Satirical Poems Reformation
I. xliv. 368
Destroy the block, That vurkis thir Turkis aganis the.
1625 in W. Foster Eng. Factories India 1624–9
Discharging our broadsides as fast as wee coulde laied them and worck them.
1645 in Notes & Queries 12th Ser. 9 223/2
Brick to worke up the wall.
1748 S. Richardson Clarissa V. xxxix. 285
But reflectioning apart, thou seest, Jack, that her plot is beginning to work.
1843 R. J. Graves Syst. Clin. Med. vi. 75
The stomach works well and performs its functions with vigour.
1994 I. Welsh Sport For All in Acid House 147
Whit's it ye dae, mate, ye wurkin?
2006 Independent 4 July 7/3
We find ways of making things work even if they were not meant to work for us.
θ. lME wake (transmission error), lME (18– Eng. regional) wark, lME–15 warke; Sc. pre-17 warke, pre-17 18– wark (rare); Irish English (northern) 19– wark, 20– waark.
1440 [implied in: Promptorium Parvulorum
Blunderynge, or blunt warkynge, hebefaccio. (at )].
?c1450 Recipe in M. Leach Stud. Medieval Lit. in Honor A. C. Baugh
Ho-sal xal warkyn with gressys to sen, Ful wyse & ware he must been.
1530 Myroure Oure Ladye
The tonge spekyth, the handes warke.
1640 in L. B. Taylor Aberdeen Council Lett.
That ye..put your haill shoemakeris to wark the shoes.
1880 L. Parr Adam & Eve II. 143
If 'tis to be done, he'll wark the oracle for me.
1932 D. Campbell Bamboozled 14
She believes the caller air o' Redcleugh 'll wark miracles on him.
2009 Tourism Ireland Ann. Rep. 2008
(Ulster Scots version)
[She] waarks i the healtht bettherment fiel'.
ι. lME warch.
in R. M. Lumiansky & D. Mills Chester Myst. Cycle
I. App. 497
Iff I be Crist, nowe levys ye and warchis after the wyse.
?a1500 in G. Henslow Med. Wks. 14th Cent.
Let seþe to þe þrydde part be sodyn a-wey, and take fro þe fuyre aned warch hit [sc. dye] vppon a cloþ.
κ. Chiefly regional and arch. 15 wroteth (3rd singular indicative), 18– wrought; Sc. pre-17 wrochtand (present participle), 18 wroughtin’ (present participle), 19– wrocht; Irish English (northern) 20– wrocht. 2.
1528 Tyndale That Fayth Mother of All Good Workes f. viii
Faith wroteth [1547 worketh] her selfe in the hertes of the electe.
1599 in R. D. MacEwan Old Glasgow Weavers
That nane..tak..ony..silveir before the hand, except the work be wrochtand the tyme thai tak the said silveir for to help to work the same.
1842 A. Rodger Stray Leaves 176
Noo, ta shentlemans will no like to [be] wroughtin' at a'.
1940 Mountain Democrat
26 Dec. 7/5
Men..are accountable for something like 85 per cent of the damage which fire wroughts in California forests.
1991 J. McDonald in T. Hubbard New Makars 89
The laser-licht o consciousness wrochtin a spectrum oot frae the prisom o the makar.
2009 Tourism Ireland Ann. Rep. 2008
(Ulster Scots version)
[She] wrochts alang wi' community, statutory an' industry tae ansuer healtht an' weill bein' needs.
α. eOE worte, OE uorhte (Northumbrian), OE weorhte (rare), OE weorte (rare), OE worohte (chiefly Northumbrian), OE wvorht (perhaps transmission error), OE–eME worhte, OE (rare)–eME woruhte, OE (rare)–ME wrohte, OE (rare)–eME (south-west midlands) wurhte, lOE worchte, lOE worhtte, lOE wuorhte (Kentish), eME worþte (south-western), eME wrohhte ( Ormulum), eME wroukte, ME whrohte, ME worgh (transmission error), ME worouȝte (transmission error), ME wrochete (Irish English, perhaps transmission error), ME wrocte, ME wroȝgth, ME wroghte, ME wrogt, ME wroȝt, ME wrogte, ME wroȝte, ME wroȝth, ME wroht, ME wroth, ME wrouȝht, ME wroughte, ME wrougth, ME wrouȝth, ME wrouȝthe, ME wrouȝthte, ME wrouȝtte, ME wrouht, ME wrouhte, ME wrouth, ME wrouthte, ME wroutte, ME wrouuhtyn (plural), ME wrovte, ME wrowȝte, ME wrowht, ME wrowhte, ME wrowt, ME wrowte, ME wrowth, ME wroyȝt (northern), ME–15 wrouȝt, ME–15 wrouȝte, ME–15 wrout, ME–15 wroute, ME–15 wrowght, ME–16 wroght, ME– wrought (now chiefly arch.), 19– wrocht (Irish English (northern)), 19– wroucht (Irish English (northern)); Sc. pre-17 rocht (perhaps transmission error), pre-17 urocht, pre-17 vroght, pre-17 vroycht, pre-17 worought, pre-17 wrochte, pre-17 wroght, pre-17 wrot (perhaps transmission error), pre-17 wrowcht, pre-17 wroycht, pre-17 wrycht (perhaps transmission error), pre-17 17– wrought (now chiefly arch.), pre-17 (18 north-eastern) vroucht, pre-17 (18– northern) vrocht, pre-17 18– wrocht, pre-17 18– wroucht, 18 vrought (north-eastern), 19– wirout (Orkney), 19– wirrowcht (Orkney), 19– wrowt (Orkney).
OE (Northumbrian) Lindisf. Gospels: John ix. 6
Expuit in terram et fecit lutum ex sputo : aspeaft uel on eorðu & uorhte lam uel of ðæm spadle.
OE (Northumbrian) Rushw. Gospels: John x. 41
Iohannes quidem signum fecit nullum : iohannes wutudlice becon wrohte nan.
OE Ælfric Catholic Homilies: 1st Ser.
Ða worhte [a1225 Lamb. warhte] god fela tacna on þam folce þurh ðæra apostola handum.
OE Inscription on Sundial, Kirkdale Church, Yorks. in E. Okasha Hand-list of Anglo-Saxon non-runic Inscriptions
Hawarð me wrohte.
He harm worhte [c1300 Otho wrohte].
Gen. & Exod.
It ne wrocte him neuere a del.
a1425 Bird with Four Feathers
in C. Brown Relig. Lyrics 14th Cent.
In ȝowthe I wrowth folies fele.
1497 in M. Oppenheim Naval Accts. & Inventories Henry VII
Certeyn Shipwryghtes that wrought of the seid Ship.
a1529 J. Skelton Woffully Araid 49 in Wks.
Y wrouȝt the, I bowgȝt the frome eternal fyre.
1533 J. Gau tr. C. Pedersen Richt Vay sig. Fi
The halie spreit vrocht this conceptione.
1600 J. Hamilton Facile Traictise 293
Christ wroght this be the vertew of his word vnpreachit.
1761 Mod. Part Universal Hist. XXXII. vii. 209
She wrought matters so with Albert of Brunswick.
1890 J. Service Thir Notandums ix. 63
He wrocht awa till he was ramfeezled.
1976 R. Bulter Shaela 22
Man foo we played, an foo we wrowt.
1981 S. McAughtry Belfast Stories iii. 154
Then he wrought in the aircraft factory as a riveter.
β. eOE warahtæ (runic), lOE–eME warhte, eME wrachte, eME wrahte, eME wrahtte, eME wrauhte, ME wraght, ME wraȝte, ME wraht, lME warc (E. Anglian), 15–18 wraught; Sc. pre-17 wracht, pre-17 wraught, pre-17 wraycht, pre-17 19– wraucht, 19– vraucht (eastern (central)). In Middle English, chiefly west midlands and south-western
[eOE Runic Inscription on Franks Casket in R. I. Page Introd. Eng. Runes
Good helpe æadan þiiosne ciismeel gewarahtæ.]
lOE St. Chad
He warhte eac degulran eardungstowe.
lOE Canterbury Psalter: Canticles xvi. 2
Manus meae fecerunt organum : heo[n]dan mine warhten organan.
Þu nult nanesweis witen þet he wrahte þulliche wundres.
Owl & Nightingale
He..of his eyre briddes wraȝte [a1300 Jesus Oxf. wrauhte].
Pearl l. 56
My wreched wylle in wo ay wraȝte.
Andrew of Wyntoun Oryg. Cron. Scotl.
v. l. 5314
Al þe wilis þat he wraucht [rhyme noucht].
1571 in W. Mackay & H. C. Boyd Rec. Inverness
For ane serwandis expensis that wraycht the said laubour.
1667 Milton Paradise Lost ix. 70
Sin, not Time, first wraught the change.
?1750 Ballad Floddon-Field 13
Those that he with Halbert wraught.
1800 W. Wilson Sc. Rhymes 26
He..wraught a wee bit glead To light his pipe.
1905 J. Lumsden Croonings 56
A stranger bykes i' the fine farm he wraucht sae mony years.
γ. eME wercte (south-eastern).
Ælfric's Homily De Initio Creaturae
in R. Morris Old Eng. Homilies
1st Ser. 229
Þa wercte [OE Royal worhte] he fele wundra.
δ. ME workede, 15– work'd, 15– worked, 15– workt (now nonstandard), 18 woorkt (Irish English (Wexford)), 18– work't (Eng. regional), 19– workit (Sc.).
1371 in H. M. Flasdieck Mittelengl. Originalurkunden
Th[o]mas borȝde..a nors..þat workede with Thomas atte lynyne.
1523 Ld. Berners tr. J. Froissart Cronycles I. f. ccxxiv/1
Urbayne..wared proude and worked all on heed.
1576 F. K. in R. Edwards Paradyse Daynty Deuises sig. Jiiv
I hate the wrong and not the wight, that workt my wofull case.
1648 T. Gage Eng.-Amer. 200
What Porke might work upon mans body in other Nations, it worked not there.
1743 J. Bulkeley & J. Cummins Voy. to South-seas 106
It being smooth water, she work'd very well.
1841 Dickens Old Curiosity Shop ii. xliv. 42
She worked herself to death.
Ledger-Press 21 Aug. 12/4
All workt together to see that everything was spic and clean as a dooryard.
1976 ‘M. Delving’ China Expert i. 12
He..worked out of the small, comfortable house he had bought.
2004 Recorded Interview
(BBC Voices Recordings: Hawick)
Ye workit in the tweeds or ye workit in the hosiery.
ε. lME wyrkkyd; Sc. 18– wirked, 19– wirkid, 19– wirkit.
a1500 in R. H. Robbins Hist. Poems 14th & 15th Cent.
They þat wyrkkyd soche wooll.
1894 A. Reid Songs Heatherland 28
Until a hairie o' the doug, Was tummilt owre the drouthy craig Syne up the rinnie wirked.
1935 M. C. Wilson Souter's Sujaistions ii. 10
I didna ken ye wirkit under onybody. I ei thocht ye were yer ain maister.
1996 S. Blackhall Wittgenstein's Web 21
At the back o the shoppie far he wirkit.
ζ. Chiefly regional and arch. 17– wroughted.
1784 R. Boswell Bk. Psalms in Metre xliv
The work Thou wroughted'st in their days.
1876 W. A. Gunnell Sketches of Hull Celebrities 154
Allbee, hys Maysterie man wroughted yerlie an late toe illyghten ye Ladkyns top partmente, butte hee moughte as wel a usenid hys endevorments toe amayde a Ronde naile fytte a square Hoke.
1895 W. Morris & E. Magnússon tr. S. Sturluson Stories Kings of Norway III. v.–vi. 10
And in such wise thou wroughted'st That the king won back his country.
η. 18 worcht (Eng. regional (Lancashire)), 18– worched (Eng. regional (Shropshire)). 3.
?1802 ‘Tim Bobbin the 2nd’ Plebeian Politics 36
Ot brew'd a jorum o' maut, an worcht it in a chambur.
1879 G. F. Jackson Shropshire Word-bk. 488
'Er worched the poor chap despertly.
α. OE geuorht (Northumbrian), OE geweorht (rare), OE geworht, OE geworulit (transmission error), OE gewyrht (rare), OE giworht (Northumbrian), OE worht (rare), OE wort (rare), lOE gewroht, lOE–ME wroht, eME ȝeworuht, eME gewrht (in copy of OE charter), eME ȝewroht, eME iweorht (south-west midlands), eME iwhorht, eME iworht, eME iworhte, eME iworut (south-west midlands), eME iwroht, eME iwroust, eME wrohht ( Ormulum), eME wrokt, eME wroust, ME ewroȝt (north-west midlands), ME iwort, ME iwrogt, ME iwroȝt, ME iwroȝte, ME iwrought, ME iwroughte, ME iwrouȝt, ME iwrouht, ME iwrouhte, ME iwrout, ME iwroutȝ, ME jwrowht, ME whrout, ME worght, ME worȝt, ME worought, ME woruȝt, ME worwt, ME wrht, ME wrocht, ME wrogh, ME wroghȝt, ME wroghte, ME wroghtte, ME wrogt, ME wroȝt, ME wroȝte, ME wrogth, ME wroȝth, ME wrohut, ME wroth, ME wrothe, ME wrotht, ME wrothte, ME wroþt, ME wrouȝg (perhaps transmission error), ME wrougt, ME wrouȝt, ME wrouȝþ, ME wrouȝte, ME wrougth, ME wrouȝth, ME wrouȝthe, ME wrouht, ME wrouhte, ME wrout, ME wroute, ME wroutȝ, ME wrouth, ME wrovte, ME wrowgt, ME wrowȝt, ME wrowgth, ME wrowht, ME wrowt, ME wrowth, ME wroyght (north midlands), ME wroyȝt (northern), ME wruȝt, ME ywort, ME ywroght, ME ywroȝt, ME ywroht, ME ywroth, ME ywrouȝt, ME ywrouȝte, ME ywrouȝth, ME ywrouht, ME ywrout, ME ywrouth, ME ywrowte, ME–15 wrotte, ME–15 wrowght, ME–16 wroght, ME–16 wroughte, ME– wrought (now chiefly arch.), ME– ywrought (now arch.), lME worst (transmission error), lME wrofft (perhaps transmission error), lME wrowgh (in a late copy, perhaps transmission error), lME ywoȝt (transmission error), 15 rought, 15 wrowte, 16 wrote; Sc. pre-17 rocht, pre-17 vorcht, pre-17 vorght, pre-17 vroght, pre-17 worcht, pre-17 worought, pre-17 wroch, pre-17 wroche, pre-17 wroght, pre-17 wroht, pre-17 wrothte, pre-17 wrowght, pre-17 ywrocht, pre-17 17– wrocht, pre-17 17– wrought (now chiefly arch.), pre-17 (18– north-eastern) vrocht, pre-17 18– wroucht, pre-17 (19– northern) vrought, 19– wirrowt (Orkney), 19– wroacht (southern); also Irish English (northern) 19– wrocht, 19– wrought. The Older Scots form ywrocht occurs in a text showing influence of southern English.
OE (Mercian) Rushw. Gospels: Matt. xi. 23
Quia si in sodomis factæ fuissent uirtutes quae factae sunt in te : forðon þe þær in sodomingum worht were mægen þa worht werun in ðe.
Swa wæs on ðæm scennum..gesæd hwam þæt sweord geworht..ærest wære.
OE Homily: Gospel of Nicodemus
(Corpus Cambr. 41)
in Mod. Philol.
Ond þonne Godes engelas arædað ælces mannes worc, swa god swa yfel, swa hi ær gewyrht habbað.
OE tr. Bede Eccl. Hist.
(Cambr. Univ. Libr.)
i. Introd. 26
Her beoð swyþe genihtsume weolocas, of þam bið geweorht se weolocreada tælgh.
lOE Anglo-Saxon Chron.
On his time þa seonde he to Rome Wilfrid biscop to þam pape..& cydde him..hu his breðre Peada & Wulfhere & se abbot Saxulf heafden wroht an minstre.
Ded. l. 153
Icc hafe hemm wrohht tiss boc.
Dwelling haueth ofte scaþe wrouth.
2 John 8
See ȝe ȝoure silf, lest ȝe leese the thinges that ȝe han wrought.
Þerfor haf i worght þis bok.
Had he worȝt ay to wees welth.
Apol. Lollard Doctr.
Lord, þu hast wrout al our warkis in vs.
c1550 Complaynt Scotl.
The..figuris that hed bene grauit vrocht and brodrut.
1585 S. Daniel in tr. P. Giovio Worthy Tract contayning Disc. Imprese To Rdr. sig. A.vi
This [inuention]..which time hath now at length perfited and rought into a more regulare order.
Borough Deeds (Bundle 145 No. 2b)
The earth being lately by the tide wroughte.
1756 C. Lucas Ess. Waters i. 128
Water is raised by a machine,..wrought by an horse.
1871 Banffshire Jrnl. 4 July
Hard an' sair we a' hae vrocht.
1998 S. Priest Merleau-Ponty xiii. 211
Matter is wrought into a new form.
2000 M. Fitt But n Ben A-go-go xiii. 99
He had wrocht the situation tae be as moger-free as possible.
β. OE gewarht (rare), eME iwracht, eME iwraht, eME iwrat (perhaps transmission error), eME wraht, ME ywraht, ME (15 northern) wrauht, ME (northern)–15 wraght, lME rawt (E. Anglian), 15– wraught (now rare); Sc. pre-17 wracht, pre-17 wraucht, 17–18 wraught. In Middle English, chiefly west midlands and south-western
eOE Corpus Gloss.
eOE tr. Orosius Hist.
v. ii. 114
Giet to dæge mon hæt Corrinthisce fatu ealle þe þærof gewarhte wæron.
lOE St. Chad
Heo wes gewarht ufan on huses gelicnesse.
Ma wundres ich habbe iwraht þene ich mahte munien.
a1300 in R. Morris Old Eng. Misc.
We habbeþ werkes yeynes þi wille wrauht.
c1325 in G. L. Brook Harley Lyrics
Þeȝes, legges, fet, ant al ywraht wes of þe beste.
?c1450 Life St. Cuthbert
Þare was anes a tre arayde...It was in a wayne wraght for to be broght hame.
1518 in I. S. Leadam Select Cases Star Chamber
To..cawse further myschefe to have byn wraught.
1647 H. More Philos. Poems iii. iv. viii
So little fruits remain of all my skill hath wraught.
1791 J. Learmont Poems Pastoral 57
We are sae dowrly wraught.
a1846 J. H. Frere in Wks.
Fiercer fray was never wraught.
γ. ME wirkede, ME wirkid; Sc. pre-17 wirk (rare), 19– wirked, 19– wirkid, 19– wirkit.
a1400 in C. Horstmann Yorkshire Writers
First, at helle þi thoght shal be, to se how synne is wirkid [a1500 BL Add. wroken] þare; and in purgatorie may þou se how synne is clensyd, with pynes sare.
in G. G. Perry Relig. Pieces in Prose & Verse
This erthely besynes..hase men wirkede waa.
a1522 G. Douglas tr. Virgil Æneid
vi. iv. 58
Confusyt Chaos, quharof all thing beyn wirk [rhyme dyrk].
1995 A. Fenton Craiters i. 42
Ye'd tae haiv up e roon clew..till ye'd wirkit yer wye roon e heid o e ruck.
2004 S. Blackhall Minnie 77
He'd covert puckles o shearers and skiffies fa'd come and gaen on the ferms he'd wirked on.
δ. lME worchen.
a1425 in R. H. Bowers Three Middle Eng. Relig. Poems
Ye cursed gastes, hens ye wende..Of the develle to take youre mede After that ye af worchen in dede.
ε. lME wrowten, 15 wrochtin (Sc.).
in G. Cigman Lollard Serm.
Olde men in hire laste age, whiche han..neuer wrowten in þe vineȝerd of God.
1568 Want of Wyse Men
in R. Henryson Poems
Welth is away, wit is now wrochtin to wrinkis.
ζ. lME worched, 18 worcht (Eng. regional (Lancashire)).
a1470 Malory Morte Darthur
(Winch. Coll. 13)
We have worched all maner of sylke workys.
1812 ‘Tim Bobbin the 2nd’ Plebeian Politics
I'd hah mede 'em t' hah worcht for the'r livink.
η. 15 workyd, 15– worked, 16– workt (now nonstandard), 18– worrk'd (Eng. regional (Yorkshire)), 19– workit (Sc.).
a1538 T. Starkey Dial. Pole & Lupset
Our marchantys cary them [sc. lead and tin] out..& then bryng the same in workyd agayn and made vessel therof.
1604 T. Dekker & T. Middleton Honest Whore sig. G4v
Neither hum, hem, nor ha, onely starde me in the face, past along, and made hast in, as if my lookes had workt with him, to giue him a stoole.
1688 R. Holme Acad. Armory iii. 291/1
Wool is rent and torn and beaten very fine,..before it can be worked into Hats.
1733 E. Budgell Bee No. 5. I. 180
In what an hurry a Weekly Pamphlet of three Sheets must be work'd off.
1879 Cassell's Techn. Educator
Several mines were worked for this metal.
1911 Sat. Press
20 May 1/5
He..had workt at his bench until within four hours of his death.
1991 H. Holton in T. Hubbard New Makars 134
Oo sall gin awe the wild weather ats workit oor wie.
2014 Atlantic Apr. 16/1
Two brothers who worked in their father's office-furniture business.
θ. Chiefly regional and arch. 18– wroughted, 19– wrochtit (Sc., rare). (Show Less)
1867 Benton Tribune
8 Aug. 2/2
How shall I ever meet you since this destruction have been wroughted?
1886 Railway World 20 Feb. 177/2
Modified..so as to embrace all the privileges, restrictions, and conditions wroughted by this act.
1976 Sc. National Dict. X. at Wirk
Pa.p...double form wrochtit.
Frequency (in current use):
In , , and
of the present stem (i) cognate with Old Dutch wurchen
, Old Saxon wurkian
(Middle Low German wurken
), Old High German wurken
(Middle High German wurken
, German †würken
), Old Icelandic yrkja
, Norwegian (Nynorsk) yrkje
, Old Swedish yrkia
), Old Danish yrkia
), Gothic waurkjan
< a suffixed Germanic base with zero grade < the same Indo-European base as Mycenaean Greek wo-ze
, Avestan vərəzyeiti
of the present stem (ii) originally cognate with Old Frisian wirka
, Old Dutch wirchen
(Middle Dutch wirken
, Dutch wirken
), Old Saxon wirkian
(Middle Low German wirken
), Old High German wirken
(Middle High German wirken
, German wirken
, now only ‘to have an effect’ and ‘to do needlework’) < the Germanic base of
(ultimately reflecting the e
-grade of the same Indo-European base) + a suffix forming verbs; however, some of these forms could also have arisen in other ways (see note).
(iii) cognate with or formed similarly to Old Frisian werka
, Middle Dutch werken
), Old Saxon werkon
(Middle Low German werken
), Old High German werkōn
(Middle High German werken
, German werken
), Old Icelandic verka
, Norwegian (Nynorsk) verke
, Old Swedish värka
), either reflecting early influence of
on the stem vowel of the verb (see
and ) or re-formed < the noun at a later stage. Some early examples of this type could also have arisen directly from the
Further cognate forms.
With the , , and
of the present stem compare also (without the suffix) Old Icelandic orka
, Norwegian orke
, Old Swedish orka
), Old Danish orkæ
of the present stem compare also ( < German) Danish virke
(already in early modern Danish), also Swedish virka
(now chiefly with reference to needlework). Compare also Old Icelandic verkja
to feel pain (see ). With the e
-grade of the Indo-European base compare further ancient Greek ἔρδω
I do (perfect ἔοργα
), and perhaps Middle Breton groa
he does, Old Welsh guragun
let us make, Welsh †gorug
he made, did (13th cent.; compare Welsh gwneud
to do, make, with some analogical changes to the form).
Form history: (i) present stem.
In Old English a weak Class I verb.
Forms with y
in Old English (see Forms 1) show regular i-mutation of the zero-grade stem vowel u
in the present stem.
Beside these, forms reflecting a different ablaut grade of the present stem are attested in Old English in early Mercian (Vespasian Psalter) as wircan
, with i
raised from e
(see Forms 1). However, later forms showing stem vowel i
in the present stem, especially those attested in the east midlands and the north (compare Forms 1), are more likely to show the reflex of Old English y
in those areas.
Forms with stem vowel e
(see Forms 1
and 1) apparently chiefly show the influence of (see main etymology), but some may have arisen in other ways, especially in the south-east where e
would represent the regular reflex of y
in Old English wyrcan
(compare Old English (Kentish) werð
at Forms 1).
Forms with stem vowel o
(see Forms 1
and 1) apparently show graphic substitution of wo
(compare Forms 1) to avoid minim confusion. In Middle English such forms are widespread and not restricted to western dialects (where u
is the expected reflex of Old English y
); they chiefly reflect the special Old English development of wyr-
(see A. Campbell Old Eng. Gram.
) §§322, 324, and compare , , , etc.).
Forms with stem vowel a
(see Forms 1
and 1) probably show the regular late Middle English lowering of er
(compare Forms 1
and 1) to ar
that is also seen in e.g.
and , although some influence from
is also possible. Compare also Middle Dutch warken
, Middle Low German warken
to work (both uncommon variants of the forms listed in the main etymology).
In Old English the stem-final consonant is palatalized and assibilated in the present stem except in the 2nd and 3rd singular indicative; these assibilated forms are continued in Middle English in forms with stem-final affricate, e.g. wurche
, etc. (see Forms 1, 1, 1, 1, 1). Forms with stem-final plosive like modern standard English work
(see Forms 1, 1, 1, 1), probably partly show generalization of the unassibilated consonant of the 2nd and 3rd singular indicative, and partly the influence of the Scandinavian cognates and of
Occasional present-stem forms of the type wrought
(see Forms 1) are inferred from the past tense and past participle (compare Forms 2
and 3). Compare the double past tense and past participle forms discussed below.
Form history: (ii) past tense and past participle.
The past tense worhte
and past participle worht
(see Forms 2
and 3) reflect regular Germanic lowering of the zero-grade stem vowel u
(before the mid to low vowels of the original endings). With the past tense forms at Forms 2
compare Old Frisian wrocht-
, Middle Low German wrochte
, Old High German worhta
, Early Runic worahto
, Old Icelandic orti
, Gothic waurhta
(all 3rd person singular indicative), also (2nd person singular indicative) Old Dutch worhtus
; with the corresponding past participle forms at Forms 3
compare Old Frisian -wrocht
, Middle Dutch geworcht
, Middle Low German gewrocht
, Old High German giworht
, Old Icelandic ort
, Old Danish urt
. The Old English past tense warhte
and past participle warht
(see Forms 2
and 3) show a specifically Anglian development of this form type, with a change of o
. Compare the apparently parallel developments seen for example in Old Dutch warhton
(3rd person plural past indicative) and the past participles Middle Dutch gewracht
, Old Saxon giwarhta
(Middle Low German gewracht
The forms of the past tense and the past participle show occasional metathesis of r
already in Old English, which later becomes the norm; compare Old English (past tense) wrohte
, modern English wrought
From the Middle English period onwards, past tense and past participle are re-formed, based on various forms of the present stem with the suffix -ed
(see Forms 2, 2, 2, 2, and 3, 3, 3). Compare likewise the formation of a new past participle with the suffix -en
(see Forms 3) by analogy with the past participles of strong verbs. Double past forms are also occasionally attested (see Forms 2, 3, 3, and compare ), in which the past tense and past participle suffix is added to an existing past tense or past participle form. The current standard form worked
first appears in the 14th cent., and is now the usual form of the past tense and past participle except in archaic use or in particular senses, especially relating to craftsmanship, in which the form wrought
survives; compare branch , especially sense , and also ). Similar secondary past tense and past participle formations from the most prominent forms of the present stem also occur in other West Germanic languages in the medieval period. These are consistently attested earliest in the past participle (compare Middle Dutch gewerkt
, Old Saxon giwerkot
, Middle High German gewerket
), and go on to become the standard forms in each language.
In Old English the prefixed form gewyrcan
is also attested. Compare also awyrcan
to make, do, act (compare ), bewyrcan
to harm (compare ), unwyrcan
to hedge in, to weave (compare ), and also fullwyrcan
to half do (compare ).
Notes on specific senses.
The semantic range of
is not paralleled by any single expression in Latin or the Romance languages, and the English word is used to translate a variety of words and expressions in these languages.
influenced by , perhaps as a reinterpretation by association of that word with forms of
with stem vowel a
(see Forms 1).
To act, do, function, operate.
b. To perpetrate (evil, an evil or harmful deed); to commit (a sin or crime). Now somewhat arch. (frequently in past tense or past participle in form wrought).
Omnes qui operantur iniquitatem : alle ða ðe wircað unrehtwisnisse.
OE Ælfric Let. to Wulfgeat
in B. Assmann
And þa halgan englas, þe on heofonum wuniað, ne worhton nane synne, ne hi synnian ne magon.
Ælfric's Homily on Nativity of Christ
in A. O. Belfour
He hatæð soðlice þa ðe unriht wurceæð [OE Julius þa yfelwyrcendan and þa unrihtwisan].
Sipes ȝe sinkeð & scaðe ðus werkeð.
Anon, so þu hast sinne wrouht,..to shrifte þat þu gange.
Vn-reufulli yee wirc vnright.
Fals treson alway þai wroght.
c1449 R. Pecock
Tho pseudo Apostilis wrouȝten persecucioun..aȝens the trewe Apostlis.
Þe hete..Þat enforceþ þe flech folie to wirche.
1535 Ezek. xxxiii. 26
Ye worke abhominacions, euery one defyleth his neghbours wife.
1581 J. Merbecke 1158
And keepes hir husbands secrets close, when friend worke wily guiles.
1611 Matt. vii. 23
Depart from me, ye that worke iniquity.
1613 S. Purchas 25
Working that malice on the creatures..which he could not..wrecke on their Creator.
1708 M. Hole 514
'Tis a delight in working Evil to another..: which is the Humor of the Devil.
1774 M. Deverell v. 110
Furious anger throws a man off his guard, and leads him to work unrighteousness.
1829 T. Hood Dream Eugene Aram in 1 112
Methought, last night, I wrought A murder, in a dream!
1894 G. B. Stevens vi. 140
Those who habitually work iniquity are morally kindred to the devil.
1923 D. A. Mackenzie xix. 363
Susa-no-wo..is associated with Yomi, the habitation of the deities that work evil against mankind.
2011 B. J. Hollars 7
The crimes wrought against Michael Donald and Matthew Shepard both qualify as hate crimes.
(a) To perform or observe (a ceremony, rite, etc.). Now rare and chiefly Freemasonry (cf. sense ).
Hwar ys cumena hus þar ic mine eastron wyrce mid minon leorningcnihtum [L. ubi pascha cum discipulis meis manducem]?
c1330 Short Metrical Chron.
311 in J. Ritson
Eleutherie, the pope of Rome, Stablede suithe sone Godes werkes wurche, Ant singe in holy chirche.
(Galba & Harl.)
He es Goddes minister and haly kirkes, Þat þe sacrament of þe auter wirkes.
Play Sacrament l. 325 in N. Davis
Seyng hys evynsong, As yt hys [read ys] worshepe for to werche.
1852 June 256
Some can work the ceremony of Initiation.
1903 J. T. Lawrence viii. 74
What generally takes place in a lodge of instruction is that the lectures, or sections of them, are worked, officers to conduct the same being appointed at a previous meeting.
1949 E. M. Butler ii. ii. 117
Gilles worked the rites, or rather his wizards did so for him.
(b) Freemasonry. To award ceremonially (a Masonic degree). Cf. .
1868 22 Aug. 141/2
The speculative degrees mentioned had never been worked in Kilwinning.
1884 W. J. Hughan i. 5
The fancy that the Craft..and other degrees were worked by our ancient brethren during the seventeenth century.
1954 W. Hannah iv. 65
The 26th degree known as Prince of Mercy (not worked in England) also regards Hiram as a type of Christ in His death and resurrection.
1978 31 Mar. 2/7
An EA Degree was worked and was well received by the Brethren present.
2009 T. Churton xv. 403
From about 1775 the Rose Croix degree was worked in British masonic Knights Templar ‘Encampments’.
†d. To wage (war, a war); to engage in (battle, hostile action). Obsolete (arch. and rare after 17th cent.).
eOE tr. Orosius
ii. v. 47
Se Themestocles gemyndgade Ionas þære ealdan fæhþe þe Xersis him to geworht hæfde.
Ðat folc ebru to werchen wi.
Chaucer tr. Boethius
(BL Add. 10340)
iv. met. vii. l. 4237
Agamenon þat wrouȝt[e] [?c1425 Cambr. Ii.3.21 wrowhte] and continuede þe batailes by ten ȝere.
A were es wroght..Ȝowre walles with to wrote.
Where this Geant were procured and wrought.
1657 T. Stanley sig. Ff
The war our sins have wrought, With Peace, which Christ hath bought.
1683 iv. iv. 42
You love the fair Hersilia; And as a means to gain her wrought this war, And got my Fort by Treason.
1813 J. Montgomery x. 195
When war in heaven was wrought, Michael against the Prince of Darkness fought.
b. To have the desired outcome or effect; to be effective or successful.
1599 G. Chapman sig. Dv
King. Wherefore bring you this apparell, that picture, and that sword? Lau. To put him by the sight of them in mind of..the true vse they should be put vnto. King... Though these obiects do not worke, yet it is very probable..we shal discerne his humor of them.
1625 W. Crashaw sig. D2
As thou wouldst haue this Medicine worke, and become powerfull for thy preseruation, forget not to take a taste of this continually, the first thing in the Morning, and the last at Night.
1748 S. Richardson V. xxxix. 285
But reflectioning apart, thou seest, Jack, that her plot is beginning to work.
1849 T. Arnold Let. 28 Aug. in
Nothing is easier than to make a beautiful scheme of education on paper, but to make it work is ‘quite another pair of shoes’.
1861 Trollope II. xiii. 267
Lady Lufton was beginning to fear that her plan would not work.
1892 L. Clifford I. ii. 40
Walter had tried sending Florence and the children and going down every week himself; but he found ‘it didn't work’.
1957 18 Feb. 57/1
If it works, early retirement can produce the blissful by-product shown on the next page.
1969 F. O'Connor Let. 4 Feb. in
I felt better about the book, knowing you think it works.
1986 31 Oct.
Diarrhoea..can stop the oral contraceptive pill from working.
2001 4 June (e.biz section) 34
They had a bunch of crazy ideas that would never work.
c. Of a machine, device, etc.: to function, run, operate, esp. properly or effectively, or in a specified manner; (also) to be in a functional condition.
c1610 in G. C. Bond
Smale modles often fayle..when they cume to worcke upon heavye..weightes.
1702 21 Feb. 2/2
There is a small Engine, that Raises Water..now set up at the Engine-House..in Dorset Garden, which will Work every Saturday and Wednesday.
1726 G. Leoni tr. L. B. Alberti II. 11
Cranes or Skrews, or any other Engine, working either by Leavers or Pullies.
1842 Dickens I. ii. 46
Telegraphs working; flags hoisted.
1867 tr. R. Clausius 198
A machine which works with expansion.
1889 A. C. Gunter iv. 37
Maurice..closes the door..trying it to be sure the spring lock has worked.
1917 M. T. Jackson ii. 67
Like all mechanical devices it [sc. the thermostat] does not always work.
1936 23 Sept. 37/1
The [sewing] machine is light..and there's not the slightest tremor of vibration as it works.
1978 H. Wouk xxiv. 238
There's a fridge, but it doesn't work.
2012 Apr. 44/3
Your compass works by using a magnetic north-seeking needle that orientates itself with the earth's magnetic field.
b. transitive. To solve or address by means of arithmetic; = . Cf. . Now rare.
1582 J. Mellis in
iii. iii. sig. Ooiiiiv
To worke the question I bring 3 the Denominator of the Fraction in the second place.
1593 T. Fale f. 25
I worke this altogether like to the South reclining 45.d…untill I have found out the Elevation of the Meridian.
1623 J. Johnson i. ii. 137
A second way more briefly to worke this question.
1667 J. Taylor i. vi. 45
How to work proportions in Numbers, Sines, or Tangents, by the Artificial Lines thereof on the outward ledge.
1728 E. Chambers at Practice
Certain compendious ways of working the Rule of Proportion.
1803 T. Beddoes III. ix. 72
To sit a horse and to work figures by head at the same time.
1852 Thackeray II. v. 89
The sum comes to the same figures, worked either way.
1885 S. Laing 5
To calculate the distance..with as much ease..as if we were working a simple sum of rule of three.
1920 5 216
These sums were worked by girls on the board.
b. transitive. To subject (liquor) to fermentation; to cause to ferment. Somewhat rare.
1594 H. Plat 70
An English trauayler..aduised me to make the same [sc. Malmesey] alwaies about the middest of Maie, that it might haue 3. hot moneths togither to work it to his ful perfection.
a1665 K. Digby
If you would have it sooner ready to drink, you may work it with a little yeast.
1743 E. Moxon
To make Balm Wine... When it is cold put a little new yeast upon it, and beat it in every two hours,..so work it for two days.
1865 i. 4
Cover the bung-hole lightly with the bung, so as to admit the air for the better security of working the wine successfully.
2004 C. Coates i. 327
There is..malolactic fermentation in barrel and the wine is worked on its lees.
b. To manage or administer (an institution, system, etc.); to direct or be responsible for the operation of; to run. Also: to manage (money). Now rare. Sometimes coloured by sense .
I..could easily pass from one class to another.., and much more effectually work the school on this plan.
1849 26 May 3/3
M. Léon Faucher had not recourse..to a thousand agents to work the elections.
1861 J. S. Mill i. 3
No one believes that every people is capable of working every sort of institutions.
1885 ‘Mrs. Alexander’ ix. 147
Always working her money and my own very cautiously.
1922 G. M. Trevelyan ix. 154
Great noblemen who were also great coalowners, working their own mines.
2004 E. J. Poza ix. 190
After all, I have been the one working the business for more than 20 years now.
To bring about or act to bring about.
†b. intransitive. To act for a specified purpose, or so as to achieve a specified end; to plan, plot; to contrive, manage. Chiefly with to-infinitive or that-clause. Obsolete (arch. in later use).Sometimes passing into sense .
i. l. 626
How he can werche Among tho wyde furred hodes, To geten hem the worldes goodes.
God..may so for yow werche That..Ye may repente of wedded mannes lyf.
ii. l. 242
Thai wyrk ay to wayt ws with supprys.
1548 f. ccxxxix
Se how politikely the French kyng wrought for his aduantage.
1623 Shakespeare & J. Fletcher iii. ii. 312
Without the Kings assent or knowledge, You wrought to be a Legate.
The Chancellor, with others of the great ones..so wrought, that a creature of their own was sent to meet Sir Jerom.
1887 W. Morris tr. Homer I. xii. 230
So wrought the Father of Gods and of Men that I was not seen.
Chiefly with to
-infinitive or for
b. transitive. To employ or exercise (one's strength, wits, efforts, etc.) in order to accomplish something or achieve some end.
i. l. 63
The raueshyng to wreken of Eleyne..þei wroughten al hire peyne.
?1567 M. Parker civ. 293
And he doth make: hys aungels sprites In wyndes and blastes: to worke theyr mightes.
1575 J. Rolland i. f. 15
To mend ye crime yai will wirk all thair mane.
1638 P. Godwin tr. F. de Calvi xix. 239
Maillard..whose present wants enforced him to work his wits for a Remedie.
1694 J. Sergeant xviii. 82
The eager Luyslander was working his Brains to compass his design.
1763 J. Spencer tr. L.-C. de Hautefort Surville 252
She..had been working her wits all this while, for this very purpose.
1872 12 426/1
The young chap was working all his might to bowl him out.
1902 R. P. Woodward ii. 23
Working my wits in a multitude of ways to keep my ship from stranding and the crew from starving.
2002 N. Minhas xxxiv. 276
The two worked their brains real hard trying to get real.
To labour, toil.
b. With at, on, upon (formerly occasionally †of), specifying a particular task or object.
OE tr. Chrodegang of Metz
(Corpus Cambr. 191)
And æfter underntide hæbbon heora capitul, and æfter þam wyrce on [þam] þæt him gedafenlic sy [L. faciant quod congruum fuerit], oððe on gebedum oððe on rædinge oððe on weorce.
Ðises geares me began ærost to weorcenne on þam niwan mynstre.
Martin abbot..wrohte on þe circe & sette þarto landes & rentes & goded it suythe.
Swa þeȝȝ stodenn..To wirrkenn o þe temmple.
Canticum Creatione l. 1058 in C. Horstmann
A temple gan he [sc. Dauid]..And þeron with glade chere Dede worchen foure & twenty ȝere.
1497 in M. Oppenheim
Certeyn Shipwryghtes that wrought of the seid Ship.
1560 Bp. J. Pilkington
The people of God nowe goynge diligently about to buylde the Lordes house, and woorkyng at it now three full monoethes.
1612 J. Davies sig. A3v
That proud Pyramed..Whereon, three-hundred-threescore-thousand wrought full twenty Yeeres.
1623 W. Lisle in tr. Ælfric Pref.
A sentence of Hesiod so commendable, that..Livie in that [Oration] of Minutius hath it well and diversly wrought-on.
1687 M. Prior & Earl of Halifax 12
Vulcan working at the Anvil.
1712 J. James tr. A.-J. Dézallier d'Argenville 205
Some Basons have been worked upon several times, without being able almost to make them hold Water.
1796 E. Burke Let. Dec. in
If I had youth and strength, I would go myself over to Ireland to work on that plan.
1840 G. Godwin i. 5
How hard some folks do work at what they call pleasure.
1853 Dickens xviii. 177
The little [church-] porch, where a monotonous ringer was working at the bell.
1893 H. P. Liddon et al. I. v. 96
Pusey..spent from fourteen to sixteen hours a day working at Arabic.
1947 D. Thomas Let. Jan. in
I also worked upon the preliminary roughing-out of the script with Taylor.
1968 12 Nov. 16/2
Young people who work at clearing slag heaps, helping meths-drinkers or cleaning canals to make them navigable.
2012 18 Mar. (New Review section) 11/1
She is currently working on a masters degree in astrophysics.
c. With in or with, specifying a particular material.
ii. l. 1850 (MED)
To worche in latoun and in bras He lerneth for his sustienance.
?1473 Caxton tr. R. Le Fèvre
I. lf. 26v
Than Iupiter began to lerne spynne and to werke in the silke.
1474 Caxton tr.
iii. iii. 93
Thise..ben named drapers..for so moche as they werke wyth wolle.
1538 T. Elyot
Plasma, the warke of a potter, or of hym that worketh in erthe.
1539 Isa. xix. 9
They that worke in flaxe.
1604 E. Grimeston tr. J. de Acosta iv. vi. 223
The veine of Tinne..is..rough and very painfull to worke in.
1656 T. Blount
Configulate, to play the Potter, to work in clay.
1726 G. Leoni tr. L. B. Alberti III. 28
Those that work in wax, stuc or clay.
1759 R. Smith
Any man who works true in brass may easily apply it [sc. this mechanism]..to any harpsichord ready made.
1825 J. Smith
It is simple and easy to cut a good screw. Any one, who works in metal, can make the tool.
1869 C. Boutell tr. J. P. Lacombe ii. 38
The Greeks of that age..were able to temper it [sc. iron], and they had actually commenced working in it.
1979 39 516
British prefabricators, whether working with wood, corrugated iron, or cast iron, had established the basic elements of industrialized building.
2002 M. Rendell
Exquisitely-skilled artisans working in wood, leather and bamboo-like guadua.
b. intransitive. With adverb or noun phrase denoting the length of time or pattern of work. Frequently in to work late : to do one's work until a late hour or (now usually) after one's normal working hours. Cf. , ,
1622 T. Scott 96
Others..are..provoked..to worke early and late, that they may sell as cheape, and make as good worke as the Stranger.
1643 J. Caryl i. 36
Oh, they have a great many children, and they must rise early and they must worke late.
1792 Feb. 92/2
Every day M. de Foureroy worked fourteen hours in his closet.
1835 J. E. Alexander viii. 179
The admiral..worked late and early himself, and made every body under him work.
Many times the work in the Secretary's office was so rushed that it was necessary to work evenings.
1920 E. F. Corbett 184
Roger worked long days, thereby involving long days for her.
1922 18 107
An unusual proportion of women who have worked part-time.
1967 70 642/1
He had a butcher shop and worked long hours.
1985 Nov. 17/1
To keep the pot boiling she worked full-time again.
2010 L. Stepp 15
All this time, I thought he was always working late. How could I have been so stupid?
c. transitive. To do (a job); to be employed in (a specified type of job or number of jobs).
1872 7 Apr. 2/5
He had been out of work for five months, and had only been able to earn a shilling now and then by working odd jobs.
1925 12 July ii. 2/5
They want girls to be fresh and bright, and you can't be when you're working two jobs.
1946 8 June 2/6
Disabled veterans object to women working night jobs.
1981 55 479
Those without steady work, those working minimum wage, unskilled jobs.
1987 July 12/1
Countless undercover law enforcement officers, most of them working narcotics, face this special kind of gunfight.
1992 B. Gill v. 81
You were jumped over many a good local lad who would have worked this job gladly.
2009 J. Bond iii. 24
Harley had worked two jobs to bring in money for bills and food.
d. intransitive. With out of. To use a place as a base, office, etc., for work.See also .
1920 Oct. 84/2
He will work out of Sanson, Texas.
1941 B. Schulberg xii. 300
She's turned pro... She's working out of Gladys'.
1976 ‘M. Delving’ i. 12
He had no shop but worked out of the small, comfortable house he had bought.
1994 R. G. Maier ii. 29
Working out of a car involves its own routines, many of which might seem pretty strange to most office workers, factory workers, and others based indoors.
2007 26 Mar. 63/3
He worked out of a series of rented rooms..relying on his cell phone and his laptop.
e. intransitive. Brit. To be responsible to a person as one's immediate superior or supervisor; to report to. Also in extended use.
1950 Rep. Commisioners of Prisons 1949 69 in Cmd. 8088 XVIII. 379
The duties of these psychologists, who will work to the medical officers at remand and trial prisons in their respective groups, will be [etc.]
1961 B. Fergusson xiv. 360
The Forward Officer (Bombardment) working to H.M.S. Roberts was killed with his signaller.
1975 I. Murdoch 6
I worked to a man called Duncan, now briefly seconded to the Home Office.
2008 E. Hemmingway v. 109
The staff working to him and to the programme need to share his vision.
b. With prepositional phrase or adjective as complement: to bring (a person or animal) into some condition, esp. exhaustion, by hard or intense labour or exertion. Frequently reflexive. to work (a person) to death : to cause (a person) to die through hard work; (hyperbolically) to make (a person) work very hard.
1599 T. Moffett 58
Working themselues to death both night & day, Not for themselues, but others to array.
1628 W. Folkingham x. 72
As Oxen wrought leane, regaine the flesh of young beefes by good pasturage.
1727 A. Hamilton II. li. 246
He..protested that he would not be accessory to the Destruction of so many Innocents, whom he foresaw, would be wrought and starved to Death.
1797 S. James 133
As they justly observed, by working themselves to death, they could but die.
1841 Dickens ii. xliv. 42
She worked herself to death.
1875 A. Woodbury xvi. 239
It was a time of unwonted suffering and privation, and the surgeons were worked to exhaustion.
1919 E. M. Knox xi. 112
You can be an ‘effective’ if..you refuse to rack yourself to pieces by night, and then work yourself to pieces by day.
1958 ‘S. Miles’ 103
Lettice has an urge To work herself so weary that she sleeps Unpricked by guilty thoughts.
1997 26 Oct. (Mag.) 16/3
You worked yourself into the ground to pay for your wife, Zelda's, psychiatric treatment.
27 Feb. 19
‘He worked me to death,’ she says. ‘He's a real slave driver.’
c. orig. New Zealand. To use (a dog) to control or herd livestock, esp. sheep. Cf. sense .
1878 E. S. Elwell 48
Fricker..[was] delighted to shew the ‘new chum’ how to work a cattle dog.
1928 P. T. Kenway viii. 56
It was said of the Highland shepherd in New Zealand, that he would..work his dogs, getting in stray sheep, every day for a month.
1968 M. M. Johnson 63
Mr Parkins and Stan were to leave at 3 a.m. for the range, the former working his two dogs and the latter his faithful Pat.
2003 T. Pratchett iii. 58
Every shepherd on the Chalk went to them, and the very best entered the arena to show how well they could work their dogs.
b. intransitive. Of a hunting dog: to hunt; to track a scent, flush out game, etc.
1828 Mar. 339/2
The hounds worked most admirably. No pack of harriers could have hunted closer.
1842 Apr. 301
Battue shooting I despise; for..you are deprived of the pleasure of seeing your dogs work.
1874 W. B. Carpenter
i. ii. §3. 104
Young Pointers and Retrievers, when first taken into the field, will often ‘work’ as well as if they had been long well trained.
1907 H. Storey 32
In less than an hour I bagged two hares and a mongoose, the dogs working well and holding the scent without a falter.
2006 M. Rice iii. 90
A pack of hounds would be of greater value in isolating the quarry, than individual hounds working separately.
Of a train or other public service vehicle.
b. transitive. To operate along (a specified route). Also of a railway company: to hold a lease to operate on (a particular line); cf. .
1835 19 Sept. 484
Comparative View of the Great Western and Basing lines... Total mechanical power necessary to work the line both ways.
1869 21 86
The Midland..ought not to work the main line.
1902 XXXII. 143/2
A line on this system is worked between Barmen and Elberfeld.
1936 78 43/1
The line was worked by the L.M.S.R. and L.N.E.R., having been built..from Kilsyth junction..to Bonny Water junction.
1976 P. R. White viii. 173
The first APTs to enter service will probably work the London–Glasgow run.
1987 Oct. 25/1
During the off-peak season it worked a town route between Swanage Pier and New Swanage, via the railway station.
2007 A. W. Yarsinske 274
In 1816 the steamboat Powhatan began working the route from Norfolk's harbor to Richmond.
. Chiefly colloq.
b. To operate illegally or criminally, esp. as a thief, in (a place or area). Cf. sense .
1867 Nov. 428
The gangs are organized to ‘work’ particular neighbourhoods.
1882 J. D. McCabe 520
Even vessels lying at anchor in the harbor, are busily worked by [thieves].
1938 F. D. Sharpe xvi. 181
They [sc. pickpockets] used to go off in busloads..to ‘work’ various districts of London.
1951 W. C. Williams xlv. 299
He had been a fur thief working the big department stores.
1990 25 Dec. 33/2
Crack dealers work the corners: 103d Street and Manhattan Avenue, 104th and Columbus.
Other pickpockets work the trains and buses.
c. orig. U.S. To operate as a prostitute in (a place or area). Esp. in to work the streets : (of a prostitute) to work on the streets, rather than in a brothel, etc.; (hence simply) to be a prostitute.
1939 44 547
She may work in a ‘call house’... Or, in a city where the racket is unorganized, she may ‘work the streets’.
1945 29 Sept. 1/1
Typical is an 18-year-old blonde known as ‘China Doll’. She has been working the bars since she was 13 to support herself and her mother.
1974 D. Goines x. 143
Every time she hit the streets, one or the other of the officers would be harassing her... She wouldn't be able to work the streets here any longer.
3 July 32
A blond rent-boy who worked the red-light area of Kings Cross.
2004 July 21/1
She hadn't spent time in juvenile hall, been homeless, worked the streets, or sold drugs.
To make, create, produce.
a. To produce (a material thing) by, or as by, labour or exertion; to make, construct, manufacture; to form, fashion. In later use somewhat arch. (usually in past tense or past participle in form wrought).Usually with reference to the creation of man-made objects, but sometimes with reference to an animal, natural process, etc.
Sometimes with implications of artistic or ornamental workmanship, and passing into sense .
Swa hine [sc. the helmet] fyrndagum worhte wæpna smið, wundrum teode, besette swinlicum.
Ða het he wurcean ænne sealfrene hop of þrittiȝæ pundon.
Ich þe wulle wurche [c1300 Otho wirche] a bord..þat þer maȝen sitten to sixtene hundred & ma.
c1325 in G. L. Brook
Hit is wonder wel ywroht.
Num. viii. 4
Moises..worouȝte [read wrouȝte] þe candelstyk.
a1475 in F. J. Furnivall
A bok..Þat men callyt an abece, Pratylych I-wrout.
1513 G. Douglas in tr. Virgil xii. Prol. 138
Quharof the beis wrocht thar hunny sweit.
1545 R. Ascham ii. f. 6v
Some of them, whych..worke ye kinges Artillarie for war.
To ane preuie Chalmer..thay him led, Quhair ane burely bed was wrocht.
1584 T. Cogan lxxxiii. 77
The liuer..is the place where all the humors of the bodie are first wrought.
1610 P. Holland tr. W. Camden i. 196
This by-word..Hengston downe well ywrought,..Is worth London deere ybought.
1698 A. Fletcher 22
The furniture of their houses..was for the most part wrought by their Slaves.
1742 D. Hume II. ii. 13
A hundred Cabinet-makers in London can work a Table or a Chair equally well.
1791 W. Cowper tr. Homer Iliad in I. xvi. 272
A goblet exquisitely wrought.
1817 J. Evans 258
A public road, beneath which is worked a path conducting to a fine lawn.
1850 H. T. Cheever i. 24
Whether the first..whaling harpoon used in America was wrought there.
1864 J. Hunt tr. C. Vogt x. 269
The [flint] instruments of oval shape have been mostly worked by gentle blows.
1911 Mar. 221/3
The utility of the graceful and pliable willow furniture wrought by hand.
(Nat. Geogr. Soc.)
The earliest known recognizable stone tools wrought by the hand of hominins date back to about 2.6 m.y.a. [= million years ago].
b. Of God: to create (a person, the world, etc.). Also in passive with the agent unspecified. Now rare (in later use arch. and usually in past tense or past participle in form wrought).
OE (Northumbrian) xix. 4
Qui fecit ab initio masculum et feminam fecit eos : seðe worohte from fruma woepenmonn & wifmonn geworhte hia [OE West Saxon Gospels: Corpus he worhte wæpmann & wifmann].
Se Ælmihtiga eorðan worhte.
He him gesægde..hu þas woruld worhte witig drihten, eorðan ymbhwyrft and uprodor.
Ælfric's Homily on Nativity of Christ
in A. O. Belfour
Gif nu sum sot wæneð þat he [sc. God] wrohte [OE Julius geworhte] hine sylfne, þenne axie we him hu þe heofenlice God hine sylfen wrohte.
Nis buten an Godd,..þet al þe world wrahte.
He wroght apon þe toþer day þe firmament.
Alas (quoth shee) that I was wrought.
Lament Duchess of Gloucester
in T. Wright
Alle women that in this world be wrowght.
Freiris Berwik 343 in W. T. Ritchie
Quhat sall I do allace þat I wes wrocht.
c1595 Countess of Pembroke Psalme cxlv. 29 in
All creatures thou hast wrought..shall their creator sound.
c1639 W. Mure Psalmes viii. 3 in
The moone, the twinckling starrs..Works, by thy finger wroght.
1648 Bp. J. Hall xix. 29
The less I can satisfie my self with marvailing at thy works, the more let me adore the majesty and omnipotence of thee that wroughtest them.
1859 Apr. 148
The better we understand the formation of the earth,..the more will the conclusion be forced upon us that there is no chance about it, but that God has wrought it all.
1988 E. J. Bickerman iii. xxv. 292
Nothing exists unless it was wrought by God.
c. To construct, build (a building or other structure). Now rare (in later use arch. and usually in past tense or past participle in form wrought).
Ða cwædon hi betwux him þæt hi woldon wircan ane burh.
Ongyn þe scip wyrcan, merehus micel.
Ða wæs ðam wurhtan ðe ðæt weorc wrohtæn wone anes beames.
Chirches chapels boþe y same Werche sche dede þurch Godes wille.
Beues dyd wyrke Abbeys, mynesters, and meny a kirke.
(Chepman & Myllar)
Weill wroght wes the wall And payntit with pride.
1667 Milton x. 300
They..the Mole immense wraught on Over the foaming deep high Archt.
a1701 H. Maundrell
An old Bridge..exceeding well wrought.
1735 J. Price 7
Scaffolds for working the said Piers from Bottom to Top.
1747 W. Gould 12
Their [sc. ants'] double Saw, by means whereof they work their Apartments.
1876 W. Morris i. 1
Earls were the wrights that wrought it [sc. a house].
1910 F. Ferrero iii. iii. 264
Those walls, wrought by hands of men unknown.
d. With of, out of, in, specifying the material used or the component parts. Now arch. (usually in passive in form wrought).
God..cwæð þæt he wolde wyrcan mannan of eorðan.
Swylce eac syndon on þære myclan cirican..ehta eagþyrelu swiþe mycele of glæse geworht.
He worhte swipan of strengon.
Nollde nohht te laferrd crist..Hemm wirrkenn win inoh off nohht...Acc wollde off waterr wirrkenn win.
Ȝif he isiþ þat þu nart areȝ, He wile of bore wrchen bareȝ.
A newe chaumbre-wouh wrouȝt al of bordes.
l. 22804 (MED)
He þat dos flexs worth in to lame, O lam mai wirc flessli licam.
Ion..dude miracles as he wel mouȝt; Of treen ȝerdes golde he wrouȝt.
In the myddes of this palays is the mountour for the grete Cane þat is all wrought of gold & precyous stones.
O Lord, quhilk wrocht all thingis of nocht.
1596 sig. E2v
Their streaming Ensignes wrought of coulloured silke.
1610 P. Holland tr. W. Camden i. 681
Good milstones are wrought out of the rocke.
1709 A. Philips 34
Every shrub, and every blade of grass, And every pointed thorn, seem'd wrought in glass.
1796 12 170
The mouldings are worked in stone, and are in good preservation.
1842 S. Lover xl. 312
Various ornaments..wrought in the purest gold.
1877 T. H. Huxley 206
Forty-six noble columns, some wrought in granite and some in marble.
1954 J. R. R. Tolkien iv. ix. 327
They walked as it were in a black vapour wrought of veritable darkness itself.
4 May 16
A Corkscrew-esque roller coaster wrought out of gerberas and hydrangeas.
22. transitive. To make, produce, create (an immaterial thing). Now arch. and rare except as passing into sense .
Þa sundorhalgan eodun þa ut soþlice & worhton [L. faciebant] geþeaht ongen hyne hu hi hyne forspildon.
lOE King Ælfred tr. Boethius
I. xxxviii. 350
Ða ongunnon lease men wyrcan spell and sædon þæt hio sceolde mid hire drycræft[um] þa men forbredan.
c1300 St. Dominic
l. 152 in C. Horstmann
Huy weren, ase god wolde, in o consent i-brouȝt, And eiþur dude bi oþeres rede, and þeos tweie ordres wrouȝte, Of frere prechours and of frere Menores.
All þaa þat wirkes Laus gain right of hali kirkes.
1440 J. Capgrave l. 1918
Here and þere himselue he gan to seche, With lesinggis among, as his maistir him tawt; ȝet wondir termes to him hatȝ he rawt.
1642 H. More sig. N8v
What's gnawing conscience from impietie By highest parts of humane soul ywrought?
1643 R. Baker i. 53
Gratefulnesse and naturall affection, meeting together, must needes worke something in the minde of a Brother.
1721 M. Prior Predestination in
Are not the Texture of our Actions wrought By something inward that directs our thought?
a1771 T. Gray Stanzas to Mr. R. Bentley in
Each dream, in fancy's airy colouring wrought.
1912 Oct. 557/1
We listen to the sublime music wrought by a master touch on violin or piano.
†23. transitive. With adjective, adverbial phrase, or prepositional phrase as complement: to make or cause to be or become what is expressed by the complement. Obsolete.
And oft þræl þæne þegen þe ær wæs his hlaford cnyt swyþe fæste & wyrcð him to þræle þurh Godes yrre.
Min hus ys gebedhus, witodlice ge worhtun þæt to þeofa cote.
Ic to widan feore wyrce syððan þin heahsetl hror and weorðlic swa heofones dagas her mid mannum.
His lond þu forbernest & hine blæð wurchest.
Þat wroht me out of wite.
He þat me hal has wroght.
Thys sawe i neuer.., Syn i was man wrowȝt.
?a1513 W. Dunbar Ballat Passioun in
Ordane for him ane resting place, That is so werie wrocht for the.
Mony woundet þat worthy & wroght vnto dethe.
1623 Shakespeare & J. Fletcher ii. ii. 47
We had need pray..for our deliuerance; Or this imperious man will worke vs all From Princes into Pages.
1639 J. Saltmarsh 43
If you suspect the performance of a promise, worke them obliged by some speciall engagement and pawne.
†24. transitive. To make (a friend or enemy). Obsolete.In Old English also with genitive.
OE Ælfric Homily
(Trin. Cambr. B.15.34)
in J. C. Pope
Wyrcað eow freonda of ðam unrihtan welan, þæt hy underfon eow on eowrum forðsiþe to him on ðam ecum eardungstowum eft.
lOE King Ælfred tr. Boethius
I. xxiv. 291
Mid þissum woruldgesælðum and mid þis andweardan welan mon wyrcð oftor feond þonne freond.
MS Trin. Cambr. in R. Morris
2nd Ser. 41 (MED)
Mid mede man mai ouer water faren, And mid weldede of giue frend wuerche.
a. To make (a fabric, garment, etc.); to weave, spin, sew, knit, etc. Now chiefly: to embroider (a garment, tapestry, etc.). Also in figurative contexts. Cf. .
eOE tr. Bede
iv. xxvi. 354
Hio smaelo hrægel weofað & wyrcað [L. texendis subtilioribus indumentis], mid ðæm hio..hio siolfe frætwað in bryda onlicnesse.
Æteowigende him þa reaf and þa gerenodan tunecan, þe Thabitas him worhte ær þan þe heo gewite.
Two pilches weren ðurg engeles wrogt.
a1400 in K. W. Engeroff
Non of þe Citee ne shal don werche qwyltes ne chalouns by-þoute þe walles.
Softe wolle..she wroughte.
a1500 in R. H. Robbins
When such cloth ys all ywrowte, To the maker it waylyth lytyll or nowȝtte.
1558 R. Gray Let. 19 Feb. in R. Hakluyt
II. i. 303
All our olde hempe is spunne and wrought in tenne cables..and thirteene Hausers.
Now she vnweaues [printed veweaues] the web that she hath wrought.
iv. i. 43
My hand-kercher..(The best I had, a Princesse wrought it me).
1651 W. Davenant ii. xxviii
These belts (wrought with their ladies' care).
1676 G. Carew 65
A quantity of Wool..was wrought into Cloath fit for Exportation.
1748 B. Robins & R. Walter ii. ii. 135
To unlay a cable to work into running rigging.
1768 L. Sterne I. 162
She was working a pair of ruffles.
1785 W. Cowper i. 33
A splendid cover..of tapestry richly wrought.
1839 A. Ure 654
In the weaving of ribbed hosiery, the plain rib courses are wrought alternately.
1849 Macaulay II. vii. 174
The princess, who had been educated only to work embroidery, to play on the spinet, [etc.].
1868 L. M. Alcott I. vi. 93
I'm going to work Mr. Laurence a pair of slippers.
1967 E. Short iv. 94
The firm also sold ready traced materials and supplied the threads for working them.
1973 E. Wilson
When you are working a large rug, a square frame..is a tremendous help.
When working a striped ribbing, little ‘nubs’ of color appear on the right side.
2009 M. Stewart ii. 34
A pillow worked with a #6 punchneedle.
b. In passive. Of a garment, piece of fabric, etc.: to be embroidered with a particular design, figure, pattern, etc. Formerly also with †upon, †about.
a1387 J. Trevisa tr. R. Higden
(St. John's Cambr.)
He fenge a scherte, som þerof was i-wrouȝt wiþ gold [?a1475 anon. tr. over gilte, L. deaurata].
His garnement was euerydell Portreied and wrought with floures.
1480 Wardrobe Accts. Edward IV in N. H. Nicolas
An hoby harneis..enbrowdered and wroght with ageletts of silver and gilt.
1539 Psalms xlv. 10
A vesture of gold (wrought about with dyuerse colours).
Sixe quyshions, wrought withe my L. [= Lord's] armes.
a1586 Sir P. Sidney
ii. xxii. sig. Cc8v
Her apparrell of white, wrought upon with broken knots.
One dammaske table clothe wrought with ye Spreed Egle.
1687 A. Lovell tr. J. de Thévenot i. 56
They wear this Cap..with a Handkerchief of fine stuff, wrought with flowers of Gold and Silk.
1792 20 Dec.
The ladies now wear the lappets to their gauze heads worked with aces of spades, hearts, diamonds, and clubs.
1842 Tennyson Audley Court in
A damask napkin wrought with horse and hound.
1893 18 Feb. 233/1
In the first Christian era, altar cloths, church curtains and all priestly vestments were wrought with holy images.
1916 Aug. 15/1
The pieces shown are all worked with the same daisy motif.
1993 B. Harvey v. 167
The abbot's house..boasted a feather bed and a coverlet worked with flowers.
2001 L. T. Ulrich iii. 116
The earliest samplers were..elongated pieces of linen worked with a succession of motifs.
c. To embroider (a design, figure, or pattern). Cf. sense .
Nought clad in silk was he But all in floures and in flourettes And with losynges and scochouns With briddes lybardes and lyouns And other beestis wrought ful well.
1588 T. Deloney
The famous Armes of England, wrought with rich imbroidered gold.
1609 P. Holland tr. A. Marcellinus xvi. v. 63
Dragons, wrought with woufe of purple thred,..leaving their winding tailes to wift in the wind.
1610 P. Holland tr. W. Camden i. 207
The Danes bare in their Ensigne a Raven wrought..in needle-worke.
1781 Oct. 487/2
The number may be neatly wrought on silk buttons.
1841 Mrs R. Hart 18
To work patterns drawn on canvas.
1859 J. Brown
1st Ser. 286
Working her name on the blankets.
1883 D. C. Murray
The maxims you cherish would have served..for your grandmother to work on samplers.
1922 J. Joyce ii. 313
A dainty motif of plume rose being worked into the pleats in a pinstripe.
1961 Autumn 82/1
Her design of a sun was freely worked in gold thread.
2001 Spring 13
The embroideries are usually worked on an undyed linen ground fabric.
26. transitive. To create (a work of art); to paint, draw, engrave, carve, etc. Also: to represent in a work of art; to portray. Cf. . Now somewhat arch. (usually in past tense or past participle in form wrought).
Hi worhton þæt gyldene cealf & wurþodon hit for god.
OE Ælfric Homily: De Falsis Diis
(Corpus Cambr. 178)
in J. C. Pope
Hi worhtan eac anlicnyssa þam arwurþum godum..and þa asmeadan mid cræfte.
Painted fire..þat apon awagh war wroght.
1449 J. Metham
Lettyrrys off gold, that gay were wrowght to the ye.
Euery creature On boothe sydes beyng drawyn in small space; So curyously..in so lytell a compace, In all thys world was neuer thyng wrought.
1597 W. Barlow sig. H
If these diuisions be wrought vpon Latten plates, [etc.].
1680 J. Moxon I. xii. 206
I shall proceed to the working a Pattern or two in Soft Wood.
1692 M. Prior in Feb. 5
Fancies and Notions we pursue, Which ne'er had Being but in thought; And like the doting Artist woo, The Image we our selves have wrought.
1697 Dryden tr. Virgil Æneis v, in tr. Virgil 337
There, Ganymede is wrought with living Art.
1778 J. Reynolds 19
The pictures, thus wrought with such pain, now appear like the effect of enchantment.
1780 No. 103
A large iron gate, at the top of which the family arms are worked.
1874 J. H. Pollen 129
The ornamental tooling is worked on leather by the bookbinder.
1907 J. Burns x. 141
Portraits wrought with great fidelity but with no attempt at producing an ideal conception.
2011 C. Kittredge
Each numeral [on the clock] was actually a tiny painting, wrought in delicate ink.
a. To compose, write (a book, text, etc.). Obsolete.
Hwæt sceal ic ðonne ma secgean fram Sancte Iohanne, cwæð se ðe þas boc worhte.
OE tr. Bede
iii. xiv. 206
Swa ic on þære bec, þe ic worhte de temporibus, swiþe sweotole gecyðde.
Þatt boc þatt Moysæs. & tatt profetess wrohhtenn.
a1300 in C. Brown
A Mayde cristes me bit yorne þat ich hire wurche a luue-ron.
?a1325 in W. Heuser
Sikirlich he was a clerk Þat wrochete þis craftilich werk.
i. l. 14216
Of Inge sauh I neuer nouht in boke writen ne wrouht.
Prol. l. 372
And thogh þat he of malice wolde enditen Despite of loue and had hym-self it wroght.
1565 B. Googe tr. ‘M. Palingenius’
vii. sig. Y.ij
So Plato..thought, And so haue many Poets erst, in pleasaunt verses wrought.
1639 J. Woodall
Pref. sig. B5
Who likes, approves, and usefull deemes This work, for him 'tis wrought.
1746 P. Francis & W. Dunkin tr. Horace i. iv. 60
Some therefore ask, can comedy be thought A real poem, since it may be wrought In style and subject without fire or force.
b. To utter (words). Obsolete. rare.
a1425 N. Homily Legendary
in C. Horstmann
2nd Ser. 30
Þai ditted þaire eris, for þai suld noght Here þir wurdes þat þus war wroght.
Philip Valays wordes wroght And said he suld þaire enmys sla.
Ser, for certayn, now thynke me selcowth of þi saw, And þi wordes thynke me wroyȝt in vayn.
28. transitive. To inflict (a wound). Now rare (in later use arch. and poet., and usually in past tense or past participle in form wrought).
eOE King Ælfred tr. Gregory
Se wielm ðæs innoðes ut abiersð & wierð to sceabbe, & moniga wunda utane wyrcð [L. foris iam corpus sauciat] mid ðæm won weorcum.
OE tr. Pseudo-Apuleius
Wiþ wunda þe mid iserne syn geworhte genim þas..wyrte.
l. 1522 (MED)
We sall wirke þam wondis full wyde.
I. xxvi. 347
For to anoyntt his woundys sere That Iues hym wroght.
1565 A. Golding tr. Ovid iv. f. 3
My loue no lesse than thyne Shall geue me force too woorke my wound.
It was as sicker and sound, As never weapon had wrought me wound.
1837 J. M. Kemble tr. xl. 117
He could not by any means work a wound upon the wretch.
1865 Nov. 298
Gerard [was] feverish from a flesh-wound (wrought by the paw of a bear).
1904 L. Binyon 78
To pardon the dear hand that wrought that wound.
1964 K. Kavanaugh & O. Rodriguez tr. St. John of Cross Living Flame of Love in 598
O happy wound, wrought by one who knows only how to heal!
a. To form (a hole, groove, etc.) by constant friction or pressure; = . Also fig.
1585 J. Banister i. xxi. 142
Be diligent to spie out the suppuration, lest it being, er you be aware, the matter worke a hollowe.
1642 T. Fuller v. xv. 418
Some mens souls are not strong enough, but that a weighty secret will work a hole through them.
1693 W. Wake tr. Shepherd. St. Hermas ii, in ii. 404
The little Drops falling upon the Earth, work a Hollow in the Stones.
1795 I. 37
The weight of eleven half-pence..working a hole perhaps in the pocket of my kerseymere waistcoat.
1836 C. Wordsworth xxvi. 203
The wheels have worked deep grooves in the rock.
1856 W. G. Simms xliv. 545
The cypress-log has..worked a little hollow into the body of the log [upon which it rests].
1901 E. A. Sandeman ii. 22
Care should be taken that the runners in the mill do not always run in the same circle, or they will work grooves in the lower stones.
2011 J. Winspear 163
A wedding ring that seemed to have worked a groove into her finger.
b. To erode (something) by friction; = . rare.
1853 E. K. Kane xlix. 465
The berg ahead..is an amorphous mass, so worn that it must have been sorely wrought before its release from the glacier.
1993 R. Fortey viii. 109
The onslaught of the sea is without remission, and joint planes have been worked and eroded until sea stacks have eventually become isolated from the main outcrop.
To bestow labour on, do work on; to shape, craft, manipulate.
a. To farm, cultivate, till (land, soil, etc.); = . Also: to cultivate (a plant or crop). to work the land : (originally) to till the land; (now also more generally) to engage in agriculture.
Adræfde hine ða of neorxnawange, ðæt he ða eorðan worhte & him ðæron tilode [L. ut operaretur terram].
Noe..began to wyrcenne ðæt land.
Gen. ii. 5
The lord god..had not rayned [altered from yrayned] vpon þe erþe, & was no man þat miȝte wirch þe erþ.
?1440 tr. Palladius
iii. l. 589
Faat lond, ydonged, moyst, & well ywroght O[y]nons desire.
a1530 W. Bonde
ii. f. xlixv
God dyd..set hym in paradyse..for that entent that he sholde worke and kepe it.
1573 T. Tusser
Chuse soile for the hop, of the rottenest mould, well donged & wrought.
App. i. 107
The earth is soft and sandy, esy to bee wrought.
1681 T. Delaune & B. Keach ii. 14
A husbandman is..one that works the earth.
1744 in 6th Rep. Deputy Keeper Public Rec. App. ii. 121 in
For the..raising, planting, and working a vegetable (called Sesamo) extraordinary productive of oyl.
1771 II. 603/1
Never work the land when wet.
1799 J. Robertson 263
The common of Rattry..is indeed very barren; but if it were wrought, it would produce turnips and then grass.
1821 15 Sept. 254
The soil shall be wrought without raising into ridge drills in the usual way.
1898 A. Brown 288
Virginia tobacco would pay enormous profits if suitable labor for working the crop in the sickly summer season could be procured.
1921 D. H. Lawrence v. 204
They will do the artificial Government navvy-work at a miserable five francs a day..—anything, anything rather than work the land.
1959 22 Dec. (Suppl.) 7/2
The art of good farming will remain—the art of knowing when and how to work the soil.
1989 T. Parker xxiv. 295
I've four of my children living here in Demus working the land.
2002 20 Jan. 57/5
We were working the ground, I was going east on my tractor and a worker who was with me was going west.
b. To obtain or extract (ore, coal, stone, etc.) by mining or quarrying. Also: to extract materials from (a mine, quarry, etc.). Cf. .
OE Ælfric Homily
in J. C. Pope
[Oft m]an wyrcð nu isen of eorðan gold & seol[for ac hi ne mi]hte nan mann macian to wecgum gyf God ne geworhte þa oran to þam.
Me wolde wene þat in þis lond no ston to worke nere.
1538 T. Elyot at Metallici
They which do dygge and warke mettall out of the mynes.
1555 R. Eden in tr. Peter Martyr of Angleria f. 178
There is an other maner of woorkyng the mynes in riuers or brookes of runnynge waters.
1604 E. Grimeston tr. J. de Acosta iv. vii. 226
The silver that hath beene wrought in the country.
a1618 W. Raleigh Apol. Voy. Guiana 54 in
It had been no lesse a breach of Peace to have wrought any Myne of his,..then it is now cald'd..a breach of peace to take a towne of his.
1709 T. Robinson x. 62
We found the Vein wrought three Yards wide, and twenty Fathom deep.
1778 W. Pryce 21
Several parts of the Lode..have been indiscreetly hulked and worked.
1791 J. Smeaton §99
I..went to view the quarries where the flat paving and steps were wrought.
1839 H. T. De la Beche iv. 124
Roofing~slates and flagstones have been worked in some places.
1844 J. Dunn 241
The natives were anxious that we should employ them to work the coal.
Several mines were worked for this metal.
1900 19 717
In days gone by thin seams were worked by special thin coal miners.
Buttock,..a short step in the line of face,..from which coal can be more conveniently worked.
13 Mar. viii. 6/5
Thirty-eight men in eastern Kentucky, working a wretched little nonunion mine (derisively called a dog hole), were blown up.
a. transitive. To shape or manipulate (a soft or malleable substance); esp. to knead, press, or stir (into another substance); to mix or incorporate together or with another substance; to spread on or on to a surface.Also with into or to, expressing the form or object resulting from this process (cf. sense ); in Old English also with adjectival complement (cf. quot. ).
i. xlviii. 122
Mintan wel getrifulade meng wiþ hunig, wyrc to lytlum cliwene.
OE tr. Pseudo-Apuleius
Genim þonne swa mycel swa [þ]u mæge mid twam fingrum genima[n], wyrc hit sinewealt & do on þa næsþyrlu.
OE tr. Pseudo-Apuleius
Mencg eall tosomne, wyrc to clyðan [c1150 Harl. 6258B wyrc to cliðam] & lege ðonne on þa wunde.
1417 in M. Sellers
I. 183 (MED)
That he wyrk na lede amanges any other metall..bot if it be in souldur.
Þe sperm is traveld & swynkyn as buttur in þe kyrne, & swongyn & wroght & knodyn in þe ballok stanys of þam bath as past or dawgh in a vessell.
a1538 T. Starkey
Our marchantys cary them [sc. lead and tin] out..& then bryng the same in workyd agayn and made vessel therof.
1566 T. Blundeville Order curing Horses Dis. f. 34v, in
Mingle them togyther, and sturre them continually in a pot.., vntill the Quicksyluer be so wrought with the rest, as you shall perceyue no Quicksyluer therin.
1575 G. Gascoigne ii. iii. sig. E
You shall see..how I will worke this geare lyke wax.
1653 I. Walton viii. 172
Mix with it [sc. paste] Virgins-wax and clarified honey, and work them together with your hands before the fire.
1678 J. Moxon I. i. 9
When you joyn several Bars of Iron together..and work them into one Bar.
1717 M. Prior iii. 461
I..melted down my Plate, On Modern Models to be wrought.
1756 Mrs. Calderwood's Journey in
This salt they work into the butter.
1767 H. Glasse
When they are wrought to paste, roll them with the ends of your fingers.
1852 13 i. 41
After the butter is taken from the churn it must first be well squeezed or ‘worked’ by the hand.
1853 A. Soyer 285
Some cooks..worked sesame flour..with honey and oil.
1885 C. Wallis 14
The first tone should be decidedly grey..; and on this may be worked Raw Sienna and Brown Madder.
1913 Jan. 66/2
A prettier, though more troublesome, method is to work the paste into rolls and cut off two-inch lengths.
1914 E. Oberg 1189
Put down the concrete in layers..and work it onto the form with a shovel.
1932 T. E. Lawrence tr. Homer xii
You must work bees-wax till it is plastic.
1985 27 June c4/1
It requires lots of scrubbing and forceful back-and-forth stroking to work the paint into all the crevices.
2004 W. Szykitka v. 359/3
Work the butter with a paddle until the salt is evenly distributed.
b. transitive. To shape (stone, metal, wood, or some other hard substance) by cutting, filing, etc. Also: to shape or beat out (metal) by hammering (cf. ). Also fig.
Þei wrothin hit [sc. a tree] wit maistrie.
a1398 J. Trevisa tr. Bartholomaeus Anglicus
(BL Add. 27944)
II. xvi. vii. 833
[Silver] may wel be wrouȝt by hamour but nought so wel as gold.
1444 in C. Welch
I. 14 (MED)
Grete damages..daily growen and encrecen..to alle the Kinges lieges bying, myltyng, and wirkyng the same tynne.
1556 M. Huggarde
They folowed the ensample of a Mason when he worketh stones to build a house. For firste he doeth rough hewe them.
1679 J. Moxon I. ix. 157
A greater number of Boards to work to a Level.
1697 W. Dampier vii. 127
The Goldsmiths are commonly strangers, yet some of the Achinese themselves know how to work Metals.
Till you have wrought [1677 filed] the Spindle from end to end.
1717 G. Berkeley Jrnls. Trav. Italy 27 May in
Stone easily wrought.
1781 W. Cowper 2
When a bar of pure silver or ingot of gold Is sent to be flatted or wrought into length.
1844 E. B. Browning li
Little thinking if we work our souls as nobly as our iron.
1855 ‘S. A. Bard’ ix. 185
The trunk of the ceiba..is invaluable to the natives. The wood is easily worked.
1885 21 Mar. 382/1
The facility of working it [sc. limestone] would lead one to expect that an arcuated architecture would have sprung up in Assyria.
1911 XXVII. 39/2
Power presses for working sheet-metal articles.
2007 Summer 6/1
I could be..working in the banker workshop (actually working the stone with chisels and a mallet).
c. intransitive. With adverb as complement: (of a substance) to behave in the specified way while being shaped, manipulated, etc.; to admit well, easily, etc., of shaping or manipulation. See also .
1490 Caxton tr.
Whan the yron is well hoote, hit werketh the better.
1662 B. Gerbier 24
Portland Stone works well.
1676 J. Smith ii. 16
Vermillion... If it be ground fine..no Colour works better.
In making Hats, To Cotton well, is when the Wooll and other Materials work well and imbody together.
3 xlviii. 205
Whilst in the quarry, it works better than after it has been exposed to the sun.
1815 J. Smith II. 732
Yellow ochre..is..much used [sc. in painting], as it works very freely.
1877 C. H. Savory 68
Distemper mixed with jellied size will lay on better..than when the size is used hot. Colour mixed on the former plan works cool and floats nicely, while the latter works dry, and drags and gathers.
1932 R. P. A. Johnson & M. I. Bradner
(U.S. Dept. Agric. Techn. Bull. No. 285)
The moisture content has a pronounced influence on the ease with which a wood works.
2011 A. J. Hamler xvii. 126
Cedar works easily with both hand and power tools.
32. transitive. In passive (chiefly in form wrought). To be ornamented or inlaid with (also †mid) a colour, material, design, etc. Cf. .
eOE King Ælfred tr. Boethius
I. iv. 391
Ne me no ne lyst mid glase geworhtra waga.
1438–42 in J. Stratford
A spiceplate gild, wrought with the armes of Alençon.
1527 in J. S. Brewer
IV. ii. 1667
Antique works..wrought with byste and gold.
1634 T. Herbert 61
Two Pillars..couered and wrought with blue and Gold.
1663 B. Gerbier 83
Glasse wrought with good lead,..Glass wrought with an Arch well leaded.
1704 J. Harris I
Piedouche, in Architecture, is a little Square Base smoothed, and wrought with Mouldings, which serves to support a Bust.
1763 VII. iv. 16
The doors of the church, which are said to be of Corinthian brass, are curiously wrought with bass-reliefs.
1814 R. Southey xviii. 222
The crosier richly wrought With silver foliature.
1880 L. Wallace iv. xii. 246
A cornice wrought with arabesques exceedingly intricate in form.
1914 H. C. Gordon 271
The little Turkish cap..was richly wrought with gold and gems.
2004 June 127/1
Bracelets worked with delicate filigree.
a. To transform, convert, or turn (something) into or (now less usually) to something else.Cf. sense , from which this sense differs in that the object undergoes an actual change of form or nature (in later use esp. through the application of work or effort) rather than remaining essentially the same thing in a changed state or condition.
He fram þysse eorðan ende lædeð wolcen wræclicu, wind and liget, and þa to regne recene wyrceð.
in S. Irvine
Næs Criste nan earfoðnesse þæt he þa stanes mid his worde to lafes wrohte.
2 Cor. vii. 10 (MED)
That sorwe that is aftir God worchith penaunce in to stedefast heelthe.
(Bodl. e Mus.)
f. 56v (MED)
The substaunce of an egg by nature is wrought Into a chicke.
1576 T. Newton tr. L. Lemnie ii. iii. f. 108v
Naturall Phlegme..is through heate conuerted and wrought into Bloud and redde colour.
1664 Duchess of Newcastle ii. xxv. 207
If another soul should enter into the body, and work it to another figure.
1753 May 231/2
I regulated my story by the rules of the drama, and with great application and labour wrought it into a tragedy.
1820 2 17
The subject of the Fugata..is a very good one. It were to be wished that it had been worked into a regular Fugue.
1842 Tennyson Miller's Daughter
God..who wrought Two spirits to one equal mind.
1904 15 Oct. 51/2
He [sc. Keats] was not content with a vague image, but worked it into something more definite.
1998 S. Priest xiii. 211
A painting is a manipulation of matter and changing of the spatio-temporal location of innumerable physical items. Matter is wrought into a new form.
b. reflexive. With adjectival complement: to go through some process so as to reach the state or condition expressed by the complement.
a1628 J. Preston
The Godly mans heart..is like a troubled fountaine, which though it be muddy, yet because their is a spring of grace in his heart, it worketh it selfe pure againe.
1657 T. Manton 146
The fountain never ceaseth till it work it self clean again.
1713 J. Addison i. 16
So the pure limpid Stream, when foul with Stains..Work's it self clear, and as it runs, refines.
1753 S. Richardson II. xv. 160
His estate would..work itself clear.
1880 May 40/1
You may work yourself clean with holy water.
1884 20 Feb. 4/6
It would take some time for the trade to work itself right.
1907 J. A. B. Cook xvi. 101
The present misunderstanding will work itself right, but it may take some time to do so.
2009 8 Oct. 39/1
Philosophy thought it could work itself pure through ‘anti-psychologism’.
34. transitive. gen. To perform an action or process of a particular type on (a material, commodity, etc.), esp. in order to prepare it for sale or some specific subsequent use.Used chiefly as a general term covering a range of processes which might be individually expressed by more specific verbs.
1440 in W. H. Black
Also that no Whitetawier tawe, wirke, nor array..ony maner Shepeslether..or any other weyke, untrewe, or unsuffisant lethir.
1466 in J. T. Gilbert
That no tanner, ne glover..wyrche harr leddyr at the ryver.
1602 E. Hayes in J. Brereton 19
England shall affoord vs people..which may very happily be spared from hence to work those commodities [i.e. Fish, Whale and Seale oils, Soape ashes and Soape] there.
1669 S. Sturmy v. xii. 65
Gun-powder of a..Russet colour..may be judged to have all its Receipts well wrought.
1700 T. Tryon 208
Muscovado Sugar..has the first place; the next is that which tends towards an Ash Colour.., and is a good Sugar for Refiners.., and therefore Refiners generally work the second.
1770 P. Luckombe 360
When he worked White Paper, he caught the sheet by the upper further corner.
1839 C. M. Kirkland x. 60
The road had been but little ‘worked’..and in some parts was almost in a state of nature.
1883 15 Dec. 791
Produce of value, such as tea, coffee, indigo, drugs, etc., have to be ‘worked’ for sale purposes; and this term embraces the opening of the package, examination for sea-damage, sorting into qualities, and a host of other operations.
1903 H. R. Procter 180
After bating, the hides are usually ‘worked’ (‘scudded’, ‘fine-haired’) on the beam, to remove dirt and grease.
1908 1 July 4/6
It [sc. a kind of paper] is said to be capable of being worked into all sorts of patterns, to be insect-proof and damp-proof.
The more a product has been ‘worked’, the more restrictive the rules of origin are likely to be.
a. To insert or incorporate (something material or immaterial) into something else, esp. in the process of construction or composition. Also with between, through, etc. Cf. . In later use sometimes with implications of resistance, and coloured by sense . For use in embroidery see sense .
Sum excellence or worþines or goodnes of god..wrouȝt bi him into hise seintis or into enye of hise creaturis.
1582 A. Munday 54
One of them [sc. the three nails] he caused to be fastened in the bridle of his Horse..: an other he made to be wrought into his Helmet.
1649 W. Blith 49
A paire of Iron joynts curiously wrought into the very middest of my Barrell, on the neather side of it.
1707 tr. P. Le Lorrain de Vallemont 262
We..work into the Aperture, the Colours we would give the Flower.
1710 R. Steele No. 226. ⁋1
Those occasional Dissertations, which he has wrought into the Body of his History.
1711 W. Sutherland 48
To..work 3 whole Plank between 2 Buts.
1715 D. Defoe I. i. i. 31
Getting the Word of Life wrought in your Heart.
1753 S. Richardson II. vii. 42
The love of pleasure..was wrought into his habit. He was a slave to it.
1869 Ann. Rep. Commissioner Agric. 1868 254 in (40th Congr., 3rd Sess.: House of Representatives Executive Doc.) XV
Such a hedge may be repaired by thrusting..brush..into the holes..and..working saplings through it obliquely.
1888 25 May 465
Heavy coils of iron..have been wrought round the..fore part of each gun.
1965 Apr. 22/2
If it hadn't been for the countergravity materials worked into its structure, the Cloudsplitter would have plunged to the ground like a rock.
1997 J. Hatfield & G. Burt 260
If you have a good enough story to tell, Chris will try to figure out a way to work it into the mythology.
b. Horticulture. To graft on or upon a stock. Formerly also with †into. In early use chiefly in figurative contexts.
1606 T. Dekker sig. E
Hee's a rich stone stuck in the Diadem: A graft so wrought into the Royall Stem.
1658 Sir T. Browne Garden of Cyrus ii, in 26
The Romanes early wrought so much civility upon the Brittish stock.
1779 J. Abercrombie 282
The approved varieties are with certainty continued by this method; worked either upon their own seedling stocks,..or upon Pear stocks.
1837 T. Rivers 72
A collection of Chinese Roses worked on short stems.
1859 R. Thompson 387
The..portion cut off, is termed the scion, or graft, and the rooted plant, on which it is placed or worked, is called the stock.
1929 No. 1567. 26
A stock..should be at least as hardy and vigorous as the variety worked on it.
2005 P. M. Browse iv. 66
The [apricot] varieties cited have been worked on St. Julien A rootstocks in order to constrain vigour.
†36. transitive. slang. To obtain or dispose of (something) illegally or fraudulently (cf. sense ). Also: to sell or hawk (goods). Obsolete.
1826 26 Mar. 205/2
The smugglers..succeeded in working the goods, excepting two tubs and their eleven-oared galley, which were seized.
1839 H. Brandon Dict. Flash or Cant Lang. in W. A. Miles 166/1
Work the Bulls, get rid of bad 5s. pieces.
1851 H. Mayhew I. 84/2
They made more money ‘working’ these [sc. pine-apples] than any other article.
1890 ‘R. Boldrewood’ I. x. 151
Somebody might claim the colt without this [receipt]—say you'd worked him on the cross.
37. transitive. To investigate or study systematically; to do research on. Cf. , . rare.
1840 W. Atkinson Pref. p. ix
I felt desirous of working the subject in conjunction with other persons, so that I might..derive assistance and advantage from any comments.
1900 J. Shephard & W. Strickland in 74
The aquatic worms are an untouched group. There are very many forms and when worked they will doubtless yield interesting results.
To influence or affect a person, the body, mind, etc.
. Chiefly with on
(formerly also †in
a. To influence or have an effect on a person mentally, morally, or emotionally; to prevail on, persuade; (now often) to strive or seek to influence in this way. In quot. : to exert an astrological influence; cf. .
In quot. : to make an entreaty to; = .
OE tr. Defensor
Doce filium tuum et operare in illo ne in turpitudine illius confundaris : lær sunu þinne & wyrc on him þæt þu na on fylþe his þu beo gescynd.
Ne mahtu, ne þin unwiht, nawiht wurchen on me, meiden an as ich am.
v. l. 463
That ilke unsely maladie..Jelousie..worcheth on a man.
(Bodl. Add. B. 17)
Ther be also .vij. planetis that meuyn and werkyn in the .vij. heuenes.
1616 W. Browne II. ii. 48
Which wrought so on the Swains, they could not smother Their sighes.
1632 W. Lithgow iv. 140
Sir Thomas..seriously wrought with the Grand Signior and his Counsell, to haue had him restored againe to his Lands.
1647 in F. P. Verney & M. M. Verney
Shee cries and tackes on..but all we can doo will not worke of her.
1658 G. Atwell i. 4
He works to the Lady [owner] to send another to measure it [sc. the farm]... He prevails with her, she sends another.
1667 Milton viii. 507
Nature her self..Wrought in her so, that seeing me, she turn'd.
1669 S. Pepys 10 May
The King may yet be wrought upon..to bring changes in our office.
1671 Milton 850
It was not gold..That wrought with me.
a1715 Bp. G. Burnet
But he would not be wrought on.
1799 G. Washington Let. in
He was not to be worked upon by Intriguers.
1823 Scott III. v. 129
Sweetest Lady, work with thy child, that he will pardon all past sins.
1849 Macaulay II. vi. 72
She..worked on his feelings by pretending to be ill.
1869 E. A. Freeman III. xiii. 266
He had many minds to work upon and to win over to his cause.
1953 S. J. Perelman Let. 23 June in
His muzzler has been working on me to play the perspiration circuit.
1976 W. Katiyo iii. 130
Take him downstairs and work on him until he is ready to write and sign a statement!
1989 V. Singh 20
The prospect of off-season employment started to work on the porter and he became thoughtful.
2010 M. Cunningham 60
‘I'm just saying. She won't do it.’ ‘Let me work on her.’
b. To have a physical (esp. physiological) effect or influence on a person or thing.
(St. John's Cambr.)
Of the hevyn..How that the disposicioune Suld apon thingis virk heir doune.
1542 N. Udall tr. Erasmus f. 219
He toke poison..but..it would not worke vpon hym.
1568 A. Scott
As for a weddow, wirk weill on hir wame, I knaw no craft sall cause hir lufe ȝow bettir.
1585 T. Washington tr. N. de Nicolay iii. xi. 91 b
Opium..doth so worke with them.., that they loose both their wits and vnderstanding.
1587 Sir P. Sidney & A. Golding tr. P. de Mornay xvii. 314
This fault cannot bee..imputed to any infection receiued first from the body; for the Soule could not be wrought into by the body.
ii. iii. 167
I know my Physicke will worke with him.
1630 G. Hakewill
iv. xiv. 514
The same [sun-] beams exhale both stinking vapours out of the dunghills & sweete savours out of flowres, the beame is every way the same which workes vpon them, only the difference of the subjects..is it that..diversifies the effects.
1730 W. Burdon 75
When a Purge works..too strong upon him..give him an Ounce of Venice Treacle.
1847 Tennyson iv. 72
Then, Did Cyril with whom the bell-mouth'd glass had wrought,..begin To troll a..tavern-catch.
1856 H. P. Leland 49
In five minutes I could see the whiskey beginning to work on him.
1958 10 28/1
The wine was working on him, and after a while he became relaxed on the couch.
1996 A. Ghosh
Malaria works on the brain too, in different ways.
2012 L. Hechtman
Analgesics generally work on either the peripheral or central nervous systems.
a. To act on the mind or will of; to influence, prevail on, induce, persuade; (also) to strive or seek to influence in this way; to urge. Chiefly with to, into.In early use frequently with connotations of cunning or deceit.
1532 T. More Pref. sig. Bivv
He shall by laysore worke her and wynne her to his owne heresye.
1595 S. Daniel v. lxxvii. sig. Dd2
For frends, opinion, & succeeding chaunce, Which wrought the weak to yeld, the strong to loue.
1605 Bacon ii. sig. Rr2
In Negotiation with others; men are wrought by cunning, by Importunitie, and by vehemencie.
1610 P. Holland tr. W. Camden i. 532
Yet could hee not bee wrought..to disclose his complices.
1642 D. Rogers 45
What doth the Lord? workes Peters heart from that objection, and so from unwillingnesse.
1701 T. Morer 573
To work him to a persuasion, that whatever is done, is for the best.
1713 J. Addison ii. i
Are your Hearts subdu'd..and wrought By Time and ill Success to a Submission?
1819 Scott III. vi. 151
I have been working him even now to abandon her.
1857 T. Hughes i. iii. 74
He was constantly working the Squire to send him..to a public school.
1880 R. D. Blackmore III. xviii. 263
Sooner, or later, he must come round; and the only way to do it, is to work him slowly.
1922 J. Joyce ii. v. [Lotus Eaters] 77
Sorry I didn't work him about getting Molly into the choir.
2006 K. James 73
When he tracked her down.., she worked him into letting her stay.
b. To act on the feelings of; to agitate, excite; to move, rouse into or to a specified emotional state, esp. excitement. Also reflexive and (occasionally) intransitive with reflexive meaning.Now more usually expressed by .
i. iii. 148
My dull Braine was wrought with things forgotten.
iv. i. 144
Your fathers in some passion That workes him strongly.
1697 Dryden tr. Virgil Æneis x, in tr. Virgil 535
Love, Anguish, Wrath, and Grief, to Madness wrought,..his lab'ring Soul oppress'd.
1732 G. Berkeley I. i. iv. 15
Sometimes they work themselves into high passions.
1810 W. Combe Schoolmaster's Tour in Nov. 39
The well-dress'd man now stopp'd, to know What work'd the angry Doctor so.
1838 Dickens I. iv. 57
Grasping his cane tightly, as was his wont when working into a passion.
1839 Dickens xxxiv. 327
‘Who has?’ demanded Ralph, wrought by the intelligence.., and his clerk's provoking coolness, to an intense pitch of irritation.
1855 H. H. Milman IV. ix. ii. 36
Philip..wrought by indignation from his constitutional mildness.
1920 June 10/3
By the time half an hour had passed he had worked himself into a state of nerves as unpleasant as it was unusual.
1987 R. Shilts vi. xxvii. 265
By the time Koch arrived, Larry was worked into a lather and shouted at the mayor.
2002 Winter 28/2
The game works C.J. into a frenzy of excitement.
c. U.S. colloq. To hoax, cheat, con.Quots. , may instead be examples of sense .
1884 ‘M. Twain’ xix. 162
Preachin's my line, too; and workin' camp-meetin's.
1892 21 Sept. 6/1
Waltham officers looking for a horse dealer who has been working that town.
1894 W. D. Howells 122
I couldn't believe there was any such place as Altruria, and if it were not for Mr. Twelvemough here..I might really suspect him and Mr. Homos of—well, working us, as my husband calls it.
1970 J. D. Douglas 210
The interviewer..knows a great deal about the subculture,..enough, certainly, to know when he is being ‘managed’ (or ‘worked’ or ‘conned’).
2011 J. Munton & J. McLeod ii. 23
Casual questions about my retirement, my mortgage, the money my mother had left me... In hindsight, I think he was working me all the time.
d. colloq. (orig. and chiefly U.S.). Of a performer, politician, etc.: to attempt to engage the interest, attention, or support of (a person or group of people), esp. by using persuasion, charm, or charisma; to manipulate, captivate, or enthral.
1969 Feb. 61/2
Our encounters soon assumed the form of spontaneous staging sessions with Roth out in the spotlight working the room like a stand-up comic.
1976 15 May 14/3
The lead singer..prancing from one end of the stage to the other and tirelessly working the audience.
1987 2 June 11/3
Mrs Mary Baker points out the headlines to her husband as he works the crowd from his ‘battlewagon’.
2 Oct. 16
He works his queue of admirers.., here a nudged ‘Ah reet lass,’ there a clipped ‘You're looking good for yer age’.
2009 J. Ballentine 31
Tommy continued working the room all night, and every chance he had, he would bend the ear of one or more people standing around him.
†40. transitive. Of a purgative: to stimulate the bowels of (a person). Obsolete. rare.
1713 Swift 25 Mar.
I..went to Court, and did some little Business there; but was forced to go home; for..I take a little Physick over night, wch works me next day... Tis Hiera picra 2 spoonfull, devilish Stuff.
1771 T. Smollett I. 84
Mistress said, if I didn't go, I should take a dose of bum-taffy; and so remembering how it worked Mrs. Gwyllim a pennorth, I chose rather to go again with her into the Bath.
Senses influenced by
a. transitive. Originally: to cause pain to (a person). Later chiefly: to trouble, harass, annoy; (also) to tease. Now rare (Sc. and Eng. regional in later use).
Ut of his side he toc a rib, And made a wimman him ful sib, And heled him ðat side wel, Ðat it ne wrocte him neuere a del.
1768 A. Ross i. 29
A fever..Which wrought him sae, that..He was full ready for his hindmost dress.
1879 G. F. Jackson 488
‘This 'ere tuth worches me above a bit.’..‘'Er worched the poor chap despertly.’
1887 J. Service 218
Onybody she took an ill will at,—dod! she wrocht them dreedfully.
a1895 T. Holderness MS Note in F. Ross et al. Gloss. Words Holderness
(Eng. Dial. Dict copy, 1877)
Ah'll work Jack aboot his sweetheart.
1921 V. Jacob 30
The Elder's twisted mou' That wrocht him a' the journey through [i.e. in trying to conceal his mirth].
b. intransitive. To ache, hurt; = Now rare (Eng. regional in later use).
I lefte [perh. read felte] sich woo my wounde ay wrought.
(Winch. Coll. 13)
I may nat stonde, my hede worchys so.
1662 I. T. Haughton's Grim the Collier v. 66 in
Hark, my Braynes beat, my head works, and my mind giveth me.
1673 J. Ray N. Countrey Words in 51
Warch, or Wark, to ake, to work.
a1825 R. Forby
(at cited word)
In violent head-ache, the head ‘works like a clock’.
1886 R. E. G. Cole 168
Oh, how my head works.
To move, direct.
a. intransitive. With adverb or prepositional phrase as complement: to move slowly or with effort through something; to dig or burrow down, or in or under something; to penetrate. Cf. .
So lang sall þis fox wirk in þe erthe þat at þe last he schall comme oute amang þis folk.
All the cite..þai set vppon fyre..Wroght vnder wallez walt hom to ground.
1596 J. Dalrymple tr. J. Leslie
Sum says it is a mater that wirkes out of the stanes.
1691 in 12 189
Sometimes the coneys work under the wall into the garden.
1708 J. Kersey
Coe, (among Miners) the little Lodgment they make for themselves, under Ground, as they work lower and lower.
1766 at Walk
The bottom of the walks should be laid with rubbish, coarse gravel, &c.,..and beaten down close, to prevent the worms from working through it.
1883 G. C. Davies xxxi. 238
They [sc. eels] work down into the soft mud, far beyond the reach of eel-picks and darts.
1950 Jan. 221/1
A bar is placed along the bottom of each rubber loop to keep the heads of the fasteners from working through the foam rubber.
2003 2 Oct. (Life section) 9/5
Dig a deep hole there and you should first have to work through a layer of soft snow.
b. intransitive. To go or move in a specified direction or course; to make one's way, go along; (now chiefly) to make one's way slowly, laboriously, or in an indirect course. Chiefly with adverb or prepositional phrase as complement (see also , ).
1474 Caxton tr.
iii. ii. 87
Fortune hath of no thinge so grete playsir, as for to torne & werke all way [no exact equivalent in Fr. original].
1697 Dryden tr. Virgil Æneis v, in tr. Virgil 354
The raging Fires..lurking in the Seams,..Work on their way, amid the smouldring Tow.
1759 T. Wallis at In
As he [sc. the horse] works along by a wall, hedge, or some such thing.
1802 G. Colman 116
Being Bacchi plenus,—full of wine,—..He work'd, with sinuosities, along.
1848 Dickens l. 500
[The dog] worked round and round him, as if..undecided at what particular point to go in for the assault.
1898 G. A. B. Dewar 26
The trout was working up stream, always keeping under the bank.
1912 19 Oct. 7/3
The Russians..worked round to the rear of the Turkish army.
1993 A. McNab
We could hear the follow-ups from the opposite bank, working towards us with torches and shouting to one another.
c. intransitive. With adverb or prepositional phrase as complement: to proceed in a specified direction in some operation or activity.
1566 T. Blundeville Arte of Rydynge
iii. f. 77v, in
Holding the stones in your handes in such maner, worke downe the gut into the body of the horse.
In the top it [sc. a Hose] must be six score and twelve stitches wide, so work downward.
1730 J. P. Let. 24 July in
Take the Bud in your Left Hand, and the Dibber in your Right, make the Depth of the Hole the full Length of your Dibber... And so working towards the Left Hand, it will go on apace.
In the beginning of the polish,..I worked round and round.
1825 J. C. Loudon v. i. 459
The mower now advances to the front,..always working towards the standing corn and not from it.
1877 C. H. Savory 26
The paper hanger generally works from left to right.
He is given several sharp blows on the ribs, beginning under the armpit and working downwards.
(News of World)
The golden rule to remember regarding the cutlery is that you start on the outside and work inwards.
1996 D. W. Brown viii. 118
To complete your colon massage work down the descending colon to the left-hand side of the abdomen.
2008 Mar. 32/1
If we were doing a free search..of a building, we would start to the left of the door we went in and work from left to right.
d. intransitive. fig. and in extended use. With adverb or prepositional phrase as complement: to proceed, make progress; (now) esp. to advance towards (or toward) a particular end, aim, or conclusion. Also: to seek to make progress in this way. Cf. . Sometimes, when with connotations of active striving, coloured by sense .In quot. in to work round : to recover from an illness.
1566 J. Rastell f. 162v
No surely, the Effect can not worke vpward towardes the cause, or worke so excellently douneward, as the cause.
1725 T. Sherlock v. 123
A Method of Providence working towards the great End always in view.
1753 H. Jones ii. 17
I see she muses deep; her Mind works upwards, And paints it's struggling Efforts in her Face.
1848 E. Bulwer-Lytton II. ix. iii. 314
A silent war between the two for mastery was working on.
1857 E. C. Gaskell I. ii. 27
Their religion did not work down into their lives.
I. ii. ix. 246
Hoping as Our Johnny would work round.
1887 Aug. 71/2
A standard of taste that is higher than our own..serves as something to work towards, a goal in the distance.
1895 P. Hemingway ii. 158
A new conversation starts up every hour, and..there is never time to work to a conclusion.
1927 90 146
This paper represents an attempt at placing the laws of political economy on a numerical basis and at working towards ‘econometry’—a synthesis of mathematics, economics and statistics.
1961 J. A. C. Brown ii. 27
The Death instinct is a force which is constantly working towards death.
2011 M. Kranacher et al. i. 28
Gradually, as the process is repeated and the hypotheses continue to be revised, you work toward what is the most likely and supportable conclusion.
e. intransitive. Nautical. Of a sailing vessel: to sail in a particular course or direction, to make sail; esp. to sail against the wind, to tack. Also of a person: to sail a vessel in this way. Now esp. in to work to windward . Cf. .
1621 F. Cartwright sig. C2
The Sea was exceeding high, nor could the ship worke, being euer foule of one Ship or another.
1633 T. Stafford ii. xii. 204
The shipping..had direction to worke about to another Creake.
1704 No. 4054/1
Perceiving..that they wrought from us, we followed them..with all the Sail we could make.
1748 B. Robins & R. Walter ii. viii. 223
She had sprung her fore-top-mast, which had disabled her from working to windward.
A little before noon we weighed, and worked up the river.
1790 W. Bligh 78
I endeavoured to work to windward, but we were obliged to take to our oars again.
1819 H. M. Brackenridge I. i. 113
A light breeze springing up from the land, we worked in towards the shore.
1823 W. Scoresby 2
We reached down the river, and, on the ebb, worked out of the Rock Channel.
1836 F. Marryat Pirate xvi, in 184
The Comus..worked, in short tacks, outside the reef.
1853 E. K. Kane
We are working, i.e., beating our way in the narrow leads..between the main ice and the drift.
1914 June 178/2
The yacht worked northward.
1936 7 Nov. 899/3
He wanted a chance of seeing a palari working to windward in bad conditions.
1993 E. A. Proulx xiii. 115
You got a shoal draft boat, my boy, she has to work to windward.
f. transitive. To direct or manage the movement of; to guide or drive in a particular course; (Nautical) to direct or steer (a vessel). Also (of a railway engine): to pull (a train).
1667 Milton ix. 513
A Ship by skilful Stearsman wrought Nigh Rivers mouth or Foreland.
1719 D. Defoe 28
Having no Sails to work the Ship with.
1762 J. Mills I. 160
Make a dam..and a sluice, and work the water upon it through the winter.
1806 P. Gass 30 Mar.
Making the finest canoes,..and..expert in working them when made.
1857 T. Hughes i. v. 98
Getting on the box, and working the team down street.
1883 14 June 896/2
A jury was promptly got out, and with the skilful trimming of sails, she was worked home.
1912 20 Sept. 7/2
Special trains..will be worked over the systems of the Great Northern..railways.
1982 Nov. 508/1
A replacement..powered the train as far as Carnforth where another ‘47’ was later provided to work it forward.
1996 G. Cook lxxxiii. 268
Blade's soldiers had transported it [sc. a boat] overland after having failed to work it along the canal.
g. intransitive. Cricket. Of a ball: to move into or away from the batsman after pitching; esp. to break, to spin. Cf. . Now rare.
1838 8 July
The dead state of the ground which prevented the balls from working.
1853 F. Gale 29
As he played really well to a ball which would have taken the off stump, it is quite a pity that the ball worked from the on to the leg stump.
1862 J. Pycroft 57
A ball working away only a little way to the leg.
1907 3 Sept. 7/4
On a wicket at Lord's considerably affected by rain, and one on which the bowlers were able to make the ball work a lot.
1931 9 July 10/6
The Oxford bowlers..found they could make the ball ‘work’ on a pitch that had been worn appreciably.
1939 26 Apr. 25/5
He makes the ball work in and away from the batsman.
43. transitive (reflexive). With adverb or prepositional phrase as complement: to progress, advance, proceed, esp. gradually or with difficulty; to make one's way (lit. and fig.). Also: to get or bring oneself into a particular position. Cf. .
1528 Tyndale f. viii
Faith wroteth [1547 worketh] her selfe in the hertes of the electe.
1575 G. Gascoigne lxxii. 196
[The vermin] will..worke themselues further in, so that your Terriers shall not be able to find them.
1639 S. Du Verger tr. J.-P. Camus 99
Octavian..wrought himselfe into her good will.
1663 Marquis of Worcester §15
How to make a Boat work it self against both Wind and Tide.
1711 J. Addison No. 121. ¶5
[The Mole] so swiftly working her self under Ground, and making her way so fast in the Earth.
1838 Dickens III. xlviii. 245
The women worked themselves into the centre of the crowd.
1857 T. Hughes i. iv. 81
Tom..worked himself into his shoes and his great-coat.
1871 S. Smiles i. 21
The solitary thought of a great thinker will dwell in the minds of men for centuries, until at length it works itself into their daily life.
1952 J. Thompson xvii. 111
He'd..edged into psychiatry. Out on the West Coast, he'd worked himself into some staff job with the police.
1998 18 Jan. ii. 26/2
Begun in 1981 as a video company called Vidmark, it has moved into the theatrical market and worked itself along, movie by movie.
2001 7 Sept. i. 11/6
The administration has worked itself into a position of having to choose between just saying no..or having to accept the obviously unacceptable.
a. Of the sea: to be turbulent or stormy; to toss, seethe, rage. Also of any liquid: †to swirl, churn (obsolete). Now rare (chiefly literary in later use).
a1535 T. More
iii. sig. N.iii
Before a greate storme the sea begynneth some tyme to worke and roare in it selfe ere euer the wynde waxe boysteous.
1535 Jonah i. 13
The see wrought [Hebrew hōwlêḵ] so, & was so troublous agaynst them.
1609 Shakespeare xi. 48
The sea workes hie.
1653 J. Taylor 11
The Well..doth continually work and bubble with extream violence.
a1718 T. Parnell
There Parent Ocean work'd with heaving Throes.
1815 C. Hutton II. 427/1
It is commonly said, the water works and rises in a column, before the tube comes to touch it.
1900 W. Alexander 54
Sleep sweetly while the ocean works and stirs.
1982 A. Grossman 7
Beautiful Poems—like webs, like seas working, like Wind webbing black water blown flat with gray.
b. Chiefly Nautical. Of a ship or its parts: to strain, pitch, or roll, esp. so that the fastenings become slack (cf. sense ). Also occasionally of other types of vehicle.
1689 H. Pitman 16
Our little Vessel..wrought so exceedingly, by reason of the great motion of the Sea, that we could not possibly make her tight.
1769 W. Falconer (at cited word)
A ship is..said to work, when she strains and labours heavily in a tempestuous sea, so as to loosen her joints or timbers.
1840 R. H. Dana xi. 85
Everything was working, and cracking, strained to the utmost.
1886 May 50/2
As soon as the frames began to ‘work’ or move, it was practically impossible to keep the roofs tight.
1949 L. C. Hunter v. 261
The engines and boilers..rested on a floating foundation that worked and strained under the buffeting it received.
2003 W. H. Flayhart xii. 162
Quite a swell was moving against the Old Head of Kinsale, and the ship was working and grating against the rocks.
c. Of a thought or feeling: to be or become active or intense. In early use frequently as a fig. use of sense ; later also as an extended use of sense . Sometimes also with allusion to sense .
1814 Byron i. ix. 12
As if within that murkiness of mind Work'd feelings fearful, and yet undefined.
1849 Macaulay II. vii. 215
While thoughts like these were working in the minds of many Dissenters.
1859 Tennyson Elaine in 215
Sea was her wrath, yet working after storm.
1865 C. Stanford vi. 167
Tempests of feeling often work beneath an unchanged face.
1920 C. M. Doughty iv. 115
Dark fantasy, inflaming his presumptuous youth; And working ever since, in his recreant thought.
2004 M. Lydon iv. xv. 191
‘Hell, now all these guys are gonna hear me play, I'm gonna blow.’ The other fellows could see the emotions working in his face.
a. transitive. To move (something) gradually, carefully, or laboriously into or out of some position or state, typically by exerting force against resistance or impediment; (also) to move (something) to and fro. Chiefly with adjective, adverb, or prepositional phrase as complement. Also fig.In reflexive quots. with an inanimate subject, distinguished from sense in lacking any implication of volitional movement.
1617 F. Moryson i. 115
This little ditch is not alwaies in one place but in time workes it selfe from one place to another.
1691 T. Hale 49
Her Rudder wrought it self out of the Irons, hanging only by the uppermost Pintell.
1720 D. Defoe 176
The Rage of the Floods..works down a great deal of Gold out of the Hills.
1831 Scott Castle Dangerous xiii, in 4th Ser. IV. 326
That secret charm, which, once impressed upon the human heart, is rarely wrought out of the remembrance by a long train of subsequent events.
1842 J. C. Loudon 327
Water is poured into it, and soil stirred in till the pit is half full of mud... The roots of the tree are then inserted, and worked about.
1858 B. Taylor xii. 127
In vain I shifted my aching legs and worked my benumbed hands.
1867 F. Francis v. 135
Some people work their flies.
1889 25 62
The tube..can be ‘worked down’ through the hyaline cap.
1902 12 Apr. 878
Loose body felt at inner side of knee and by working the knee he can make it evident to the touch.
1918 11 July 325/4
A neighbouring battery of guns..were being worked into position with a heaving-song.
1921 Mar. 88/2
Even a tight nut if subject to vibration will work itself loose.
1953 J. L. B. Smith
The Leervis always seizes a fish across the middle and then works it about in the jaws until head-on for easy swallowing.
2012 R. D. Taylor xviii. 89
The lifting of a well-loaded bucket above head height to work it through the narrow hatch.
b. intransitive. With adjective or prepositional phrase as complement: to move gradually into a different position; esp. to move irregularly or unsteadily so as to become out of the correct or usual position. Frequently in to work loose (also free) .
1683 J. Moxon II. 273
He will..hinder the Press from working into a twisting position.
1734 II. at Nails
Scupper Nails, are much us'd in fastening Leather and Canvas to Wood, and therefore require a broad Head, that neither may work loose.
1840 R. H. Dana xxv. 276
The anchor on the lee bow had worked loose, and was thumping the side.
1860 T. W. Ashby & T. Yorke Patent 12 Mar. in
To prevent the pinions from working out of gear, the tine barrels or cylinders are mounted on sliding tubes.
1874 J. D. Heath 26
If the handle [of the mallet] be properly wedged into the head, it ought never to work loose.
1908 July 315/1
Some rivets had worked free, allowing the stern-post to become loose.
1920 R. D. Paine vii. 156
The safety pins had worked out of position during the buffeting of the heavy seas.
1994 M. Gee
Her pale hair..had worked free at the back.
1997 D. F. Wallace 98
The operator and colleague (whose jeans have worked down his hips to the point where the top of his butt-crack is clearly visible) watch studiously.
22 Aug. (Sports section) 12/5
A wire worked loose and fried on hot metal.
c. transitive. Sport. To move, steer, or pass (a ball or puck) in a given direction; (also occasionally) to have or retain control or possession of (a ball, etc.). Frequently with adverb or prepositional phrase as complement.
‘Dribbling’, as the science of working the ball along the ground by means of the feet is technically termed.
1897 6 Feb. 215/2
The clever way in which they worked the puck down the field.
It is very discouraging to the opponents to work the ball down the field and when they lose possession to see it go sailing through the air to the point where they started.
1977 24 Jan. 32/6
‘We really worked the ball well today,’ the Jazz coach..said. The Jazz shot 51 percent from the floor.
1987 July 31/2
The purists will probably..[argue] that a player's ability to ‘work’ the ball is nothing less than a basic practical demonstration of a proper development of skills.
1991 7 Apr. 1
We haven't responded to their pressure defense by being patient and working the ball.
10 Apr. 36
The Capras worked it downfield then across the backline and scored in the corner to take a 4-0 lead.
46. intransitive. With preposition. Of a part of a mechanism: to make regular motions in relation to another part with which it is in contact or close proximity.
Some Turners that Turn altogether Small Work, have the Fore-end of the Treddle placed just under their work; so that their String works between the Cheeks of the Lathe.
1766 T. H. Croker et al. III. at Water
At the end of which [sc. levers] are jointed four rods with their forcing plugs working into four cast iron cylinders.
1770 P. Luckombe 324
[He] besmears..so much of the Cheeks as the ends of the Head works against.
1825 ‘J. Nicholson’ 130
The four bevelled nuts work into the bevelled wheels..and so turn them.
1892 II. 172
An index working over a scale.
1946 J. H. Du Bois & W. I. Pribble ix. 371
The knockout pins may be made as sleeve knockouts working over a core pin.
(Soc. of Manufacturing Engineers)
The use of die sets with ball sleeves working between pins and bushings.
47. intransitive. Of the face, features, or a part of the body: to move energetically or convulsively, esp. with strong emotion; (of a person) to move a part of the body in this way. Also: †to struggle, twitch (obsolete).
1753 S. Richardson IV. xxvii. 197
Soon after, in whipt my indiscreet Lord, his colour heightened, his features working.
1770 J. Wesley 4 July
She..wrought (like one strangled) in her breast and throat.
1816 J. Austen I. xiii. 235
With men he can be..unaffected, but when he has ladies to please every feature works .
1841 Dickens ii. lviii. 127
Shaking his head, and working with both his hands as if he were clearing away ten thousand cobwebs.
1886 R. L. Stevenson i. 5
With his face all working with sorrow.
1914 S. Taber xxvi. 280
He began to pace the floor again, his hands twisted nervously together behind his back and his features working convulsively.
1983 E. Welty
Her face worked and broke into strained, hardening lines, as if there had been a death.
1991 S. Cisneros 156
The dog was eating something, jaws working in spasmodic gulps.
2000 5 May e5/1
His manner [is] overcaffeinated, his large hands working in front of him imploringly.
a. Angling. To make (a fish) exhaust itself by pulling against a line; = .
1825 J. Wilson Noctes Ambrosianae xxiii, in Dec. 758
He worked a salmon to a miracle.
1892 Nov. 37/2
Many fishermen think it is their inexperience in properly working the fish; but that is not so.
1985 M. R. Sakamoto 49
A lot of the rods are too soft to really work a fish in a long battle.
2006 H. Raines 214
I fetched my rod from the boat and walked downstream to work the fish.
b. orig. and chiefly Austral. and New Zealand. Esp. of a dog: to herd (sheep, cattle, etc.). Also occasionally intransitive: (of sheep, cattle, etc.) to be herded. Cf. sense .
1879 17 Jan. 3/3
One of these dogs was..quite blind, and could not work sheep.
1891 G. Chamier II. 335
What do you want a dog for? You need not be driving the sheep about... Work them in circles, my man.
1930 L. G. D. Acland 1st Ser. i. 5
The practice was for a shepherd to go round the boundary once or twice a day, and at night work the sheep below one of the river terraces to camp.
1950 July 5/2
Sheep work and draft best on a slight up-grade.
1976 23 Apr. 24/9
Border collie bitch starting to work cattle.
2007 T. Williams xxxi. 224
A dog's weakness becomes more obvious when working cattle than when working sheep.
a. to work a wonder : to perform a miracle. In later use chiefly (usually in form to work wonders ): to do or achieve something remarkable or outstanding; esp. to have a very beneficial effect (on a person or thing).
A mæg God wyrcan wunder æfter wundre.
Crist..wrohhte wunndre miccle ma Þann icc ȝuw maȝȝ nu tellenn.
He..þurh wicchecreftes wurchið summe wundres.
a1387 J. Trevisa tr. R. Higden
(St. John's Cambr.)
By wycchecraft he schal wirche wondres.
R. Holland Bk. Howlat l. 785 in W. A. Craigie
He couth wirk wounderis quhat way yat he wald.
1588 C. Lucar tr. N. Tartaglia i. i. 5
If you can make me to see this which I do not beleeue, you shal work a wonder.
1656 T. Blount
Theomagical, pertaining to the wisdome of God, or that works wonders by his help.
1681 22 Nov. 2/1
Such kind of Pamphlets work Wonders with the credulous multitude.
1704 T. Gale 51
Others of them think they can work Wonders in Chronology.
1781 tr. Comtesse de Genlis I. 36
The short conversation you have just had with Sabina, has worked wonders.
1844 Aug. 239/1
Love can work wonders.
1867 A. P. Smith xii. 145
He who can jump astride a hobby, and deem himself able to work a wonder in a day, will..find himself wonderfully mistaken.
1903 Aug. 516/2
He worked wonders at Ferney. The place bloomed.
1912 40 180
The open fireplace can work social wonders if people will only give it a chance.
1980 99 56
Yhwh's working a wonder..is, in fact, the revelation of the messenger's divine status.
2011 28 May (Weekend section) 63/1
Smooth a dollop of illuminator underneath your foundation... Works wonders on grey, hungover complexions.
b. to work a miracle : to perform a miracle. In later use also (usually in form to work miracles ): to do or achieve something remarkable, outstanding, or seemingly impossible.
Seint germayn..prechede as ned was, & vair miracle wroȝte.
l. 2726 (MED)
God..Gret myracules for hurre he wrouȝte.
a1586 Sir P. Sidney
i. xiii. sig. I5
Or that she, (goddesse like) would work this miracle in her selfe.
1593 B. Barnes iii. 119
I might work miracles to change again The hard to soft!
1639 T. Fuller v. x. 247
I know it will non-plus his power to work a true miracle.
1651 J. F. tr. H. C. Agrippa 563
There be a certain art to foretell, and work miracles.
1705 W. Nicolson 19 Nov.
He took notice of Her Majesty's working Miracles by Her Speech, in bringing all men to be zealous for the Hannover-Succession.
1759 XIII. 308
A band of enthusiastick shepherds, who pretended to work miracles.
1872 W. H. Dixon
The miracles wrought by Spanish saints.
1892 Feb. 455/2
In parts in which he can call in the aid of make-up, he works miracles of metamorphosis.
1929 Jan. 21/1
Magnesia drinking water..works miracles for dyspeptics.
1994 S. Sonnett ii. 20
I get paid to do my best, not to work miracles.
2005 D. Cruickshank 117
Siva is reputed to have worked a number of miracles in and around the site of modern Madurai.
c. to work magic : to practise magic; to perform a magical procedure, rite, or trick. In later use also (also in form to work one's magic ): to do or achieve something remarkable or outstanding.
1829 J. Sheppard II. xii. 249
Jannes and Jambres, Egyptians, sacred scribes, were men who had been judged inferior to none in working magic.
1879 S. Baring-Gould I. 392
A prestidigitator can work magic with his nimble fingers.
1904 E. A. T. W. Budge 181
Stone object, with twenty facets,..probably used in working magic.
1998 Autumn 37/1
Interior designers, fabric merchants, furnishers, flower arrangers and so on, are invited in to work their magic.
6 Nov. d14
Alouette Light Louvers work magic with light—softening it, filtering it, controlling it to transform the look of a room.
P2. to work one's will
a. To freely exercise one's will; to have one's own way; to do what one wishes; (later chiefly) to achieve one's purpose. Also in extended use of an abstract quality, power, etc.
Ne com ic toþy, þæt ic minne willan worhte, ac þæs þe me hider asænde.
He..graunted him..Forto worchen his wille as lord wiþ his owne.
Þai gedird þaime to gedir full styll Of ihesu forto wyrke þare wyll.
1566 W. Painter I. xlv. f. 245v
Let fortune worke her will.
a1633 A. Munday f. 2v
Leaue the God of heauen to woorke his will.
1684 T. Guidott 30
Let Patience, or Impatience work its will.
1700 Dryden Chaucer's Cock & Fox in 245
The false Loon, who cou'd not work his Will By open Force, employ'd his flatt'ring Skill.
1782 Mar. 134/1
Let them jeer, let libellers work their will.
1838 F. Trollope xi. 210
Imla knew Count Alderberg better than his mother did, and worked his will upon him in a different way.
1870 E. A. Freeman
I. v. 368
The enemy wrought his will..without let or hindrance.
1921 W. J. Locke xi. 142
She..set a coiffeur to work his will on her hair.
1992 W. Greider i. iv. 108
The steady diffusion of authority has simply multiplied the opportunities for power to work its will.
2001 21 Jan. iv. 1/4
[He] campaigned..as Mr. Congeniality, able to..work his will through pure charm.
†b. To achieve one's sexual desires; to have sexual relations (with a person). Also to work (a person) with one's will : to have sexual relations with (a person). Cf. . Obsolete.
In quot. as part of riddle in which an activity (apparently churning butter) is described using overtly sexual imagery.
Hyse..hof his agen hrægl hondum up, [h]rand under gyrdels hyre stondendre stiþes nathwæt, worhte his willan; wagedan buta.
l. 667 (MED)
Wirche wiþ me þi wille, or witterli in hast Mi liif lelly is lorn.
l. 227 (MED)
Wyth her he þowȝth to worche hys wylle, And wedde her to hys wyfe.
All the souerains..assignet me hir ffor to wirke with my wille & weld as my nowne.
An other did worke his will, and tickled his wiues hei nonnie nonnie.
P3. Proverb. those that will not work shall not eat and variants (now often if you don't work, you don't eat).
[Originally in biblical references and allusions, after post-classical Latin si quis non vult operari, nec manducet, lit. ‘if someone does not want to work, he will not eat’ (Vulgate: 2 Thessalonians 3:10) and its model Hellenistic Greek εἴ τις οὐ θέλει ἐργάζεσθαι, μηδὲ ἐσθιέτω (New Testament); compare quots. and , respectively). Compare Middle French qui ne laeure point ne mengue point (1376).]
[OE Wulfstan tr. Amalarius
Se apostol..cwæð: Qui non uult operari nec manducet. Þæt is, se ðe nyt beon nelle, he æniges godes ne abite.]
2 Thess. iii. 10
This thing we denounsiden, or warneden, to ȝou, for if ony man wole not worche, nether ete he.
St. Mary of Oignies i. xii. in
Ententynge þat þe apostel seiþ, ‘whoo so wirkith not, ete he not’.
1535 2 Thess. iii. B
Yf there were eny which wolde not worke, ye same shulde not eate.
1595 W. Burton i. 5
The Apostle warneth the Thessalonians, that if any amongst them were able to worke and would not worke, they should not eate; to shew that idle persons are not worthie to liue.
1624 J. Smith iii. x. 83
You must obey this now for Law, that he that will not worke shall not eate (except by sicknesse he be disabled).
1684 R. Steele i. 8
The old Canon, 2 Thess. 3. 10. That if any (let them be who, or what they will) will not work, (being capable of it) they should not eat.
1726 W. Mason 12
It is plain the Managers had Authority, and to such the Apostles had commanded not to permit any, who wou'd not work, to eat.
1798 17 Mar. 197/2
He that will not work should not eat; or, in other words, he that gives nothing for what he receives, is an unprofitable being.
1826 tr. J. B. Massillon 171
I ought not to eat, because I do not work, but are you excused from this law?
1881 F. L. Shaw 104
Those who do not work should not eat. Do you suppose that a good dinner would be put upon this table..if others had not worked?
1908 Feb. 197
Amongst the animals beneath man it seems to be true..that he that will not work shall not eat.
1919 I. Zangwill in 20 Sept. 16/1
Bolshevism is not the scourge it first seemed... Who can object to a Constitution, one of whose first articles declares that ‘He who will not work shall not eat’?
1993 R. B. Edgerton
We used to bitch about the food in that hospital, but out here, if you don't work you don't eat nothing at all.
2008 P. McGraw vi. 142
I grew up poor... So I learned real fast that if you don't work, you don't eat.
P4. to work like a —— : to work extremely hard, in a manner likened to a person or animal known for undertaking heavy, arduous, or intense labour.Sometimes with the implication that the work undertaken is degrading or dehumanizing.
See also , , , .
1538 D. Lindsay sig. Eiiv
But nyght and day, they warke lyke besy bees.
I was carry'd away for a slave. Then for to work like a beast I was forced.
1738 E. Dower 9
I work like a Slave Morning, Noon and Night.
(Assoc. for Preserving Liberty & Property)
ii. ix. 4
I don't see why we are to work like slaves, while others roll about in their coaches.
1864 D. R. Goodwin iv. 115
Any person might take this poor man, drive him to the field to work like an ox without wages, [etc.].
1931 M. Moore Let. 24 June in
I take my jeroba up there and am working like a demon to complete it.
a1939 C. Porter
Too many men in the U.S.A. work like maniacs, trying to keep their wives and pay for their Cadillacs.
1991 27 Dec. 21/3
The whole of the teaching staff..worked like trojans backstage.
2005 B. Keating & S. Keating
Piet was working like a madman, and they really meant to open the lodge early in the new year.
a. to work one's brains (also eyes, soul, etc.) out : to work extremely hard.Recorded earliest in to work one's heart out at . See also .
1578 T. Lupton sig. B.iv
He is not worthie to liue I make god a vowe, That will not worke his hearte out for both you.
1609 W. Symonds 21
.The poore mettall man worketh his bones out,..yet for all his labour,..hee can hardly keepe himselfe from the almes box.
1830 W. Howitt in Sept. 216/1
This comes of living like a curmudgeon in a great house by yourself, working your eyes out to hoard up money.
1849 W. Valentine 49
I've been working my daylights out all summer.
1920 Negro World 13 Mar. in R. A. Hill
The boy..works his soul out from morning to morn-out.
There's nothing I can do about it except work my brains out and coach like hell.
b. colloq. to work one's butt (also socks, fingers, balls, etc.) off : to work extremely hard.See also , , .
1828 June 246
She would have worked her hands off before she would have parted with the dear little creature.
1890 C. C. Harrison ii. 79
What man wants to work his head off to lay up money, and then see a fool and profligate walk away with it?
1926 Feb. 49/2
I'll work—I'll work my fingers off.
1974 J. Wainwright xxi. 102
He was working his nuts off.
1982 P. Redmond
(Mersey TV shooting script)
Episode 4. 53
The poor sods working their knackers off at the machines.
1983 W. Goldman 47
He obviously worked his buns off learning to be a hoofer.
1989 15 Mar. 21/4
I don't mind working my bollocks off.
1992 Nov. 5/1
Another time you'll work your socks off and the results are terribly disappointing.
1998 June 37/2
Despite working my balls off, I wasn't getting any money.
9 June 29
My friends..have worked their butts off to help increase the number of African Caribbean and Asian members of parliament.
a. to work one's (also its) way : to advance; to move or make progress to or towards something or someone, esp. gradually or with difficulty; to penetrate through something, etc. Cf. .
1609 T. Heywood xiv. xcv. 379
O're his dead Coarse the warlike Greeke doth stride, and workes his way through harnesse richly ingrau'd.
1667 Milton ix. 512
As one who sought access, but feard To interrupt, side-long he works his way .
1713 J. Addison i. iii
Through Winds, and Waves, and Storms, he works his way.
1725 D. Defoe ii. 151
They worked their Way down these Streams.
1824 R. Stevenson 8
The bottom or hand-laid stones are said to work their way from the bottom to the surface.
1857 Jan. 86
The..phrase..is working its way into common parlance.
1889 R. Brydall vi. 106
He gradually wrought his way against the usual obstacles which a poor artist must always encounter.
1908 E. Fowler 23
The fluffy golden kerria..having worked its way through the thick wall.
1992 D. Madden xi. 105
I carefully worked my way around to what I had wanted to talk about.
2008 J. Quinn xxi. 108
They would start at the far end and work their way towards the headland.
b. to work one's way up : to progress towards something better or superior by labour or effort (esp. as opposed to privilege, favouritism, etc.); to gradually ascend a hierarchy, series of ranks, etc., esp. by working hard. Cf. .
1734 ii. 84
The Man to make his best Effort, To work his way up to the Skies, By being bravely Good and Wise.
1774 T. Walker i. iii. 32
They were obliged to work their way up to the ministry by their own industry; some of them, perhaps, by teaching schools.
1858 9 160
[He] had worked his way up from a corporalship of marines.
1883 Oct. 726/2
The trainer..begins in the stables as a rubber at an early age, and works his way up.
1956 N. Algren i. 111
Ambitious young men..willing to begin at the bottom and work their way up.
1991 C. Buckley Prol. 7
He was an orphan. Worked his way up from zip.
1 Mar. 49
Gary began his building career with Marv Andersen Homes, working his way up from house-sweeper to framer to Director of Construction.
c. Chiefly U.S. to work one's way through college (also university, school, etc.) : to pay for one's college or university education (and its associated living costs) by taking paid employment while studying.
1870 4 Aug. 372/1
The donor, Orange Judd, esq., graduated in 1847, working his way through college, self-made, like so many successful men.
1896 13 Aug. 14/1
Young Saul Epstein of San Francisco has entered the University this year and decided to work his way through college as a barber.
1939 4 Nov. 15/8
A 1939 graduate of Howard University, who worked his way through school as a porter.
1948 1 Feb. 10/4
One of nine children of Creole parents, she was borne in Minneapolis, and worked her way through University by acting as a model at art classes.
18 May va24/2
They came to the door and said they were working their way through med school by painting house numbers on curbs.
2005 C. Northrup
Some girls work their way through college while others don't have to.
P7. to work one's passage and variants: to pay for a journey by undertaking work; spec. to pay for one's passage on a ship by working during the voyage. Also fig.Apparently arising from ellipsis of for in to work for one's passage; but cf. .
1727 P. Longueville ii. 121
He sees..Hay-makers, going to work,..and resolves to make one of their Number, and work his passage up to London.
1803 D. Wordsworth 25 Aug.
He was just come from America... I do not think that he had brought much [money] back with him, for he had worked his passage over.
1836 C. P. Traill 8
A pretty yellow-haired lad,..who works his passage out.
I. xxv. 236
Some months afterwards Amory made his appearance at Calcutta, having worked his way out before the mast from the Cape.
1884 Jan. 365/1
An educated young Englishman..worked his passage as a coal-passer and ash-heaver.
1946 T. H. White xix. 126
The first scheme was to work his passage to London as a bus conductor.
1958 15 May 448/2
Italy, liberated piecemeal and ‘working her passage’ to the improved status of the Hyde Park Declaration and the New Deal for Italy.
1973 20 Mar. 13/2
One of the greatest bores in packing is choosing which shoes to take... They are heavy..and do not really work their passage.
2010 G. Ridley ix. 233
Sober, professional soldiers who wanted to work their passage back to France.
P8. to work havoc : to cause destruction, chaos, or disorder; to wreak havoc. Frequently with work in past tense or past participle form wrought, which is sometimes interpreted as the past tense or past participle of wreak; cf. .
a1774 A. Tucker
III. iv. xxvi. 48
The mighty strength of a ruling passion..might work havoc and devastation.
1806 J. Barrow
They are subject also to a cutaneous disease that works great havoc among the bovine tribe.
1868 A. W. Kinglake III. xvii. 369
A ricochet fire which..had been more or less working havoc in their ranks.
1913 Nov. 37/2
Its men would pile up a writhing heap of arms and legs, beneath which would be the player who had wrought the havoc.
1931 6 Sept. 7
Floods wreak havoc in French vineyards... Menacing floods..and downpours which wrought havoc in the wine-producing region.
1978 30 Nov. a14/2
Settlers who are prone to California dreaming,..and on whom..the anything-goes atmosphere and the wide-open spaces work havoc.
1984 4 June iii. p. vii
A decade of inflation had wrought havoc with its portfolio of fixed interest mortgages.
2004 18 Aug. (Review section) 11/1
I had..increasingly witnessed the havoc wrought by viruses.
P9. to work both ways : (of an action or process) to have a double or mixed (often positive and negative) effect; (of a point or statement) to serve both sides of an argument; cf. .
1783 E. Burke 1 Dec.
The influx of fortunes... works both ways; it influences the delinquent, and it may corrupt the minister.
1829 9 May 170/1
No rule..can be laid down..unless it work both ways; one..reason assigned for..men's [higher] wages is ‘that they have families to support’. Has not a woman, a widow, a family to support?
1935 16 255
The appeal to experience, it is true, is about the most effective that can be made to Americans. But it works both ways. The experience of the past can become the most stubborn obstacle in the way of progress.
1995 18 Feb. 8/7
In discovering that the ‘feel-good factor’ works both ways, one of the researchers..has confirmed that happy physicians both view their patients more humanely—and are more likely to make correct diagnoses.
3 Nov. 55
All that hard work can work both ways, though. It can fire you up or it can exhaust you so we will have to see how the players react.
†P10. to work a progress : to make progress, advance. Obsolete. rare.
1831 Scott Castle Dangerous iii, in 4th Ser. IV. 75
It [sc. a contagious disease] ravaged the English Borders, and made some incursions into Scotland, where it afterwards worked a fearful progress.
P11. Mining. to work home : to work back towards the main shaft. Now rare.
1835 Rep. Select Comm. Accidents in Mines 343 in (H.C. 603) V. 1
It is better to drive to the boundary, and work home.
1872 22 May 1/1
Where there is a known danger from spontaneous combustion, it can be obviated by driving to the boundary and working home.
1908 33 507
The system..of fore-winning the coal by means of driving out heads to the dip-boundary, or some convenient distance from the shaft, and working home.
P12. to work for a living : to have to work to earn money, as opposed to being in a position of ease, privilege, etc.; (also) to earn money by doing something regarded as proper work, instead of something regarded as easy.
1880 16 Aug. 2/3
Don't you think it's outrageous that a pretty-behaved girl like you should be working for a living when there's thousands of women no better than you be rolling in their carriages?
1938 F. D. Sharpe i. 13
The difference between the Underworld and the Overworld folk is that one lot works for a living; the other ‘acquires’ wealth and regards toil as sin.
1951 22 Oct. 1/3
Placing an additional tax on the people is not going to help the economical situation of those who have to work for a living.
1996 13 July 105/1
If a rock star whines about how rough he's got it, he should try working for a living.
29 May 38
A well-paid club which facilitates a narrow group of well-connected people to pursue a cushy existence, while the rest of the world works for a living.
work and turn n. a method of imposition in which a single plate or image carrier bears the material for both sides of a sheet, the sheet being turned and fed in a second time, keeping the same edge as the gripper edge, and then cut in half to produce two complete copies.
1888 C. T. Jacobi
Sheet work, applied to works or jobs printed both sides—the reverse of half-sheet or ‘work and turn’.
1931 H. Jahn xvi. 263
The Dexter standard jobbing folder..makes thirteen different folds adapted to work-and-turn and sheetwise forms.
1967 V. Strauss x. 626/1
Work-and-turn impositions cut the number of sheets to be printed in half, but they require larger and more expensive presses.
2001 Mar. 36/1
Documents with pages that need to be printed..upside down—the printing industry refers to this as work and turn.
work and tumble n. a method of imposition similar to work and turn but with the opposite edge of the sheet used as the gripper edge for the printing of the second side.
(Philippines Bureau of Printing)
The number of sheets to be printed,..instructions to ‘work and turn’ or ‘work and tumble’, and..the number of sheets to print one side only for binding, should be written on the O.K.'d revise.
1931 H. Jahn xvi. 254
In the work-and-tumble form the pages are so imposed that the sheet must be ‘tumbled’ or turned on the ‘long cross’.
2010 G. Ambrose & P. Harris 286
Work-and-tumble sees the gripper edge change position from one side of the sheet to the other.
work and back n. a method of imposition where different image carriers are used for the two sides of a sheet; cf. , .
1919 C. R. Spicher 201
This is called a ‘sheetwise’ form, or work and back.
1967 E. Chambers ii. 18
Sheet work is the term used to indicate that two formes are used to print the sheet, sometimes called ‘work and back’.
2004 E. Kenly & M. Beach
Sheetwise, technique of printing one side of a sheet with one set of plates, then the other side of the sheet with a set of different plates. Also called work and back.
work and twist n. a method of imposition where a sheet is printed on one side, then turned, typically through 180 degrees, and printed again on the same side from a different part of the same image carrier.This procedure is sometimes used for printing tables, with the horizontal lines in one part of the image carrier and the vertical lines in another.
Work and twist forms are those that are given two impressions on each half sheet by twisting new edges to both the side and gripper (or lower) guides.
2008 G. Ambrose & P. Harris v. 144/2
The rarely used work and twist sees two passes of the same design on the same side but with the stock rotated 180 degrees between each pass.
work-to-rule n. a form of industrial action in which employees undertake their contractual duties and no more, typically following rules (such as safety regulations) punctiliously in order to reduce efficiency and speed of work, and to demonstrate the level of flexibility and goodwill ordinarily offered by the workforce; an instance of this.
1920 19 Apr. 14/2
In the event of the Executive Committee not complying with this request..they [sc. railwaymen] threatened to adopt a national ‘work to rule’ movement.
1920 4 June
‘Work to rule’ dropped at Liverpool.
The delegates replied by ordering a general work-to-rule 44-hour week..unless claims were settled.
1962 26 Jan. 96
What about lesser sanctions—go-slows, work-to-rules and overtime bans?
1992 7 Dec. 110/3
The centerpiece of the union's campaign is its work-to-rule strategy, designed to slow down production.
2001 7 Apr. a4/1
It's his fifth year as a principal and he has had to deal with four strikes and work-to-rules.
b. to work to rule : (of employees) to undertake contractual duties and no more, as a form of industrial action; to carry out a work-to-rule.Cf. quot. for use of the phrase outside the context of industrial action.
1920 1 May 15/3
They propose to ‘work to rule’, a system of ca' canny..which consists in taking advantage of the technical instructions issued to railwaymen in order to do as little work as possible.
1958 4 Aug. 6/4
Prison officers..were working to rule in protest against the report..that prisoners there had been assaulted.
1967 R. Whitehead in G. Wills & R. Yearsley 69
The system would fail even more often if the staff stuck rigidly to the rules. We see the results when they ‘work to rule’, as it is.
19 Aug. c1
Teachers worked to rule, complying with the contract's requirements but declining to volunteer for such things as chaperoning class trips or dances.
work-to-contract n. a form of industrial action in which employees undertake their contractual duties and no more; an instance of this; = .
1969 13 Feb. 32/2
More than 1,000 pilots..are to prepare plans for what they call a ‘work-to-contract’ if the corporations's pay proposals..do not advance negotiations for more money and better conditions of service.
1975 13 Jan. 15/1
Instead of wholesale industrial action by most of the [medical] profession, we are left with the consultants and their ‘work-to-contract’.
1996 45 71
He interprets unions as potentially democratizing forces that have often mistaken..an instrumental, work-to-contract strategy, for empowerment.
1 Feb. 6
The Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association suspended its work to contract last year.
d. to work to contract : (of employees) to undertake contractual duties and no more, as a form of industrial action; to carry out a work-to-contract.
1969 15 Mar. 6/1
It was also stated that teachers at Warrington would work ‘to contract’.
1994 17 Dec. 1601/1
The only thing that the government would understand would be consultants deciding to work to contract.
18 Oct. a1
The Monona Grove Education Association has decided to ‘work to contract’.
P15. to work out of a suitcase : to have no fixed place of work; to be an itinerant worker; (also) to have a job which requires frequent overnight travel. Cf. sense , .
1947 29 Dec. b1/5
Brown is disturbed over the number of itinerant tattoo artists who are plying their trade in San Antonio. He terms them ‘guys who work out of a suitcase’.
1976 12 Aug. 338/2
Sir Robert Mark's spring clean of London bookshops forced hard pornbrokers to work out of a suitcase.
13 Mar. 31
You could work out of a suitcase. You don't need to be attached to an institution. It's rather like being a busker.
27 June b14
Peter Greenberg has spent much of his adult life working out of a suitcase. ‘Hotels could be considered my second home,’ he says.
P16. to work it : to engage in a performance, photo shoot, etc., with intensity or energy, or so as to increase its impact; esp. to move or pose in a sexually alluring way during such a performance. Chiefly in imperative.
‘Work it, girl, work it!’ cheers Dixie Lee Parker as her 20-year-old daughter bumps, grinds, writhes and wiggles out of a gold tinsel dress, black brassiere, panties and G-string.
1987 22 May 4 c/4
Her next selection..from her Blacks and Blues album, worked the audience into a frenzy as they egged her on with shouts of ‘work it baby’, and ‘do it sister’.
22 Mar. (Spectrum section) 16
A stunning black model..is rippling with gold bangles and moving like an art form. ‘You can tell the haute couture models—they really know how to work it.’
2004 M. Darling 212
That's the face, baby—come on! You're beautiful... Work it, baby. Work it. I love it. Yeah!
P17. music while you work: see to be subdued to what one works in: see . to work both sides of the street: see . to work double tides: see . to work like a charm: see . to work one's fingers to the bone and variants: see . to work one's ticket: see . to work the oracle: see . to work with one's hands: see .
With adverbs in specialized senses. to work away
to work down
1. transitive. To remove, efface, or erode (esp. by labour or effort).
1602 T. Russel ii. sig. B4
And selecting the subtill inward medicinable vertue, drawing it into the veynes to helpe her selfe to worke away all that offendeth her.
1745 R. Pococke II. ii. ii. 227
They light the fires, where they have worked away all the ore that was loosened.
1778 W. Pryce 161
This stoping is not unlike the hewing a flight of steps in a rock, where each man works away the step above that which he stands on.
1829 1 422
Place the index of the protractor at 89°, and at the first mark or division next to the last, apply it as before, and again work away the wood, until it fits the angle of the protractor.
1883 W. S. Gresley 231
Horizontal level headings driven through a pillar..in order to work away the coal.
1937 C. L. Camp & G. D. Hanna 37
It is best to work away the last thin shell of matrix with a hand needle or with the dental mallet.
2011 V. Holt ii. 54
Many natural beauty experts offer a natural facelift whereby they work away your wrinkles with a deep facial tissue massage.
2. intransitive. To work continuously or methodically; to keep working (at something).
a1635 R. Sibbes
We see the Physitian by his art and skill, when he sees nature working away, then he will helpe nature, till the cure be wrought.
1778 Oct. 542/2
Come, Lubin, my lad, work away; Love, and Annette, thy toil will repay.
1855 Thackeray xiv. 89
He sat down and worked away, very, very hard.
1863 E. C. Gaskell xii. 225
She was..still working away at her languages in any spare time.
1936 M. Kennedy i. 33
The machine in the power house..was working away for dear life.
1998 25 June 50/7
He worked away at his returns and his ground-strokes.
25 Aug. 48
A suited man, already working away furiously on his laptop.
3. intransitive. To apply oneself methodically or vigorously to eating or drinking something. Frequently with at.
1840 Thackeray Barber Cox in 9
The Duchess and the great ladies were all seated,..working away at the ices and macaroons.
1866 S. W. Baker II. 37
Saat..works away with his spoon,..the soup disappearing like water in the desert.
1987 B. Duffy
He worked away at an enormous welcoming meal.
2007 C. C. Williamsen ii. 22
We were all working away at the food to the exclusion of all conversation.
to work in
transitive. To reduce (to a particular size, state, etc.); to make smaller, flatter, finer, etc.; to wear or whittle down (lit. and fig.).
Before the Glass is wrought down to its true Figure.
1675 A. Browne
Let not the Roughness of the Colour discourage you from proceeding, for that is to be wrought down.
1767 iv. 37
It is..surprizing, how this animated scene..could be so unnerved, so worked down to flatness unparallelled.
1784 T. Pennant I. p. cxxii
With the blade-bones, worked down to a sharp edge, they form scythes.
1834 G. Thorburn 224
When first I began to handle the hammer,..my hands blistered too; but I wrought the blister down.
1879 ‘G. Eliot’ v. 113
All human achievement must be wrought down to this spoon-meat.
1907 Mar. 330/1
Take a good welding heat, and work it down to the proper size.
2001 C. F. Taylor 72
The horn was worked down with a sharp knife to an even thickness.
to work off
1. transitive. To insert, incorporate, or introduce (a physical or abstract thing).In quot. intransitive with object implied.
?c1450 in G. Müller
Anoynte where þat it is sor, with þat oyle, and it helyth, oþer werk yn with a clystir.
1598 J. Florio
Inframettere, to inlay or worke in among other things.
1607 E. Topsell 78
Then scarifie the wound with that oyntment, till it be wrought in.
1675 A. Browne
Working in, driving, and sweetening the same Colours one into another.
1728 E. Smith
Work in three quarters of a pound of Sugar.
1826 M. Crosfield in 20 93
The 5 American Epistles..abound with choice passages of Scripture well wrought in.
1847 A. Helps I. i. viii. 124
I would try and work in the old good thing with the new.
1870 E. A. Freeman
II. App. 584
A..tale in which several particulars..are worked in with a lofty contempt for chronology.
1930 E. Waugh
Part of Butcher Cumberland's army... It's always good to work in a little atmosphere like that.
1984 July 26/1
Work in plenty of leaf-mould.
17 June e9
This last phrase appears to be Norm's catch-cry, as he manages to work it in several times during our conversation.
2. intransitive. To make one's way in, esp. gradually or with difficulty.
1703 [implied in:
By this Gnawing and Working in with their Body, they [sc. animalcules] cause a most troublesome Itching.].
1886 C. Bigg vi. 233
Great is the truth and it will prevail, if it have but time to work in.
1918 29 Apr. 5/4
Yorkshire troops..threw the enemy out of the village..but the enemy again worked in.
2008 C. Wright et al. xiii. 328
Start at the perimeter and work in towards the centre.
. With with
a. Of a thing: to fit in with something else; to be suitable to or in harmony with a plan, system, etc.
1849 A. Helps ii. i. 12
All he meets seems to work in with, and assimilate itself to, his own peculiar subject.
1896 Rep. Sel. Comm. Old-age Pensions 28 in
(New S. Wales Legislative Assembly)
I should like to know how our present police administration works in with the existing system.
1920 27 Nov. 25/2
Some impractical scheme for developing business which will not work in with our plans at all.
1944 24 June 3/1
By budgeting my points to work in with the rest of the rations, we make out very well.
2003 22 Mar. (Supergoals section) 6/3
I've been doing the community coaching for Motherwell... It works in well with my course in Sports Studies.
b. Of a person: (originally) to fit in with a group of people; (later) to cooperate or get along with someone.
1875 C. Nordhoff 159
If one comes with low motives, he will not be comfortable with us;..but if he has the true vocation he will gradually work in with us.
1894 ‘Old Sleuth’ iv. 97
If you will work in with me you can make the best pull you ever made.
1915 E. Fenwick Diary 14 Oct. in
I had tried so hard to work in with her.
1960 M. Spark viii. 181
If Mr. Druce thought I was working in with you, he'd kill me.
1974 O. Manning i. ix. 101
I am a very fast learner, and I work in well with Mr. Axelrod.
2001 J. Hickey in M. Hickey
The bricklayers..depended on the carpenters and the carpenters worked in with them.
to work out 1. transitive
a. To finish working at (a task, etc.); to get through or dispose of by working. Also in extended use.
1618 G. Chapman tr. Hesiod ii. 20
Thy Plough-drawne Oxe; thy Maid, without her spouse, And wisely hir'd; that businesse in thy house, May first worke off; and then to Tillage come [no exact equivalent in Gk. original].
1778 J. Haigh 33
When a Vat has been heated two or three Times, and a good Part has been worked off.
1795 W. Woodfall et al. II. 102
They, therefore, requested to be exempted till they had worked off their stock in hand.
1892 W. S. Gilbert i
Giuseppe, he's to be married tomorrow,..and so on until we are all worked off.
1920 2 Dec. 4/2
When the existing contracts for new steamships are worked off.
1997 P. Prown & H. P. Newquist xvii. 131/1
Gregg returned to L. A. to work off the rest of the Liberty contract.
2004 G. P. O'Reilly et al. in Proc. 11th Internat. Telecommunications Network & Planning Symp. 210/1
The second labor shift cleared out imports while working off the remaining backlog of exports.
b. To pay off (a debt) gradually or in stages; (now usually) to earn money to pay off a (debt); (also, esp. in early use) to discharge (a debt or obligation) by labour instead of a monetary payment. Cf. earlier .
In less than Nine Years they [sc. the French government] cannot work off half their gross Debt.
1781 W. Coxe i. 6
The principle of obliging the debtor to work off his debts by his own labour is just and plausible in theory.
1837 III. 4
In other countries..the objects of the law are to..assist rather than impede him [sc. the debtor] in the practice of honest industry, whereby he may obtain subsistence and work off his debts.
1898 C. T. Eben tr. G. Mittelberger 31
He must work his debt off as a slave and poor serf.
1917 P. G. Wodehouse iv. 23
I'm an English countess, doing barefoot dancing to work off the mortgage on the ancestral castle.
1966 M. F. Thorp 9
She worked off the mortgage on the farm and began to put money in the bank.
1986 P. Auster vii. 122
People who owe him money are rarely sued or taken to court—but are given a chance to work off their debts by rendering him services.
14 Aug. (Features section) 38
Many are opting to stay on during the summer to get jobs for working off that overdraft.
a. To remove (something material) by persistent rubbing, scraping, etc.In quot. in figurative context.
1621 G. Markham xii. 161
Gently rubbing and chafing the Lymed feathers betweene your fingers, working off the Lyme.
1640 T. Fuller 175
Some Theeves have eat off their Irons, and fretted off their Fetters with Mercury water; but there is no way to worke off the Chaines of our Naturall Corruption.
1703 S. Parker tr. Eusebius viii. 146
When the Flesh of her Sides and Breasts had been wrought off with Pincers, she was Sentenc'd to the Sea.
1799 17 337
Work off the remaining wood with a large firming chissel.
1864 Dec. 338/1
The liver may now be disengaged, by working it off from its attachments next the kidneys.
1895 July 163
This tool is used to work off the inequalities left by the pick.
1930 May 134/3
If a deep nick must be ground out, the edge left by the grinding wheel must be worked off on the hand stone before you can finish it to a keen cutting edge.
1986 J. Townshend in A. Limon et al.
vi. ii. 846
The flame will soften the paint so that it is easily worked off with a scraper.
6 June (Sports section) 2
Mangrove snapper are just big enough to fillet, and the skin is then worked off with a thin-bladed knife.
b. To reduce or eliminate (a feeling, condition, etc.) by action or effort; (now) esp. to get rid of (surplus energy, strong emotion, etc.) through vigorous exercise; to take exercise to lose (weight, or food as representing this).
1678 T. Rymer 83
This Scene having wrought off the Remains of Phedra's frenzy, in the next she seems more calm.
1702 A. de la Pryme Let. 27 Mar. in
Returning to his labour,..he sweat and wrought it [sc. canine madness] of without any physic.
1737 H. Bracken xxv. 368
Nature is working off some latent Enemy.
1756 C. Smart tr. Horace Satires ii. ii, in tr. Horace
When exercise has worked off your squeamishness..then let me see you despise mean viands.
1836 F. Marryat II. x. 280
You..take some of his quack medicine, and then he will allow you a run on shore to work it off.
1873 J. A. Symonds vii. 194
Should a man arise capable of seeing rightly and living purely, he may work off the curse.
1922 J. S. Kingston 108
A man sitting writing all day could not work off the calories contained in the food that a man would require who was using a pick and shovel all day.
1943 E. Blyton viii. 53
Carlotta worked off some of her restlessness in the playgrounds, but still had plenty left by the time the bell went for classes again.
1957 20 Sept. c10/5
A ‘slimnastics’ class—to help the ladies work off the pounds gained by the gourmet cooking.
1996 23 Nov. (Weekend Suppl.) 80/4
To work off our meal..we took a hike along the stunning and challenging Kalalau trail.
2003 Sept. 59/3
Go for something more energetic, such as capoeira or step aerobics, if you need to work off pent-up energy.
3. transitive. Printing. To print off (a work, sheet, etc.) from type or a plate, esp. in a final form ready for publication or distribution.
1624 D. Featley To Rdr. sig. A4v
I could not conueniently procure the proofs to be brought vnto mee, before they were wrought off.
1662 J. Evelyn iv. 36
The very first..who published any works of this kind under their names, wrought off by the Rolling-Presse.
That..execrable Dog of a Printer..has Work'd off the last Sheet..without Sending me a Proof.
1754 Feb. 58/1
An accident..to the Plate prevented a sufficient number [of etchings] from being wrought off.
1868 E. Edwards II. Introd. p. lxxxi
By an accident of a miscarriage of proofs in the Post Office, the three letters..were worked off, prior to correction of the press.
1882 C. Pebody
The printers..often found themselves working off papers half through the night and all through the day.
1932 S. Morison iii. 64
Copies of The Post Man, being worked off upon a full, instead of the normal half-sheet, [etc.].
1986 W. J. Rorabaugh v. 105
Peck and Clapp worked off more than a hundred copies of one side of a magazine.
2004 L. P. Fleming in v. x. 216
Thomas Chorley set the type and then worked off 100 handbills.
†4. transitive. To dissuade from an opinion, belief, idea, etc. Cf. sense . Obsolete.
1627 R. S. tr. V. Cepari ii. xi. 231
He..seriously did his endeauour, to worke him off from that conceit.
1644 H. Burton 1
A corrupt, prophane, polluted Land, not yet washed from her old superstitions,..not yet wrought off from the spirit of bondage.
1655 T. Stanley I. iii. 56
Glauco..had..aimed at some great office in the Common-wealth, not to be wrought off from this fancy.., untill adrest by some friends to Socrates, who made him acknowledge his own errour.
1702 W. Nicolson 28
I am strangely harden'd and impenitent in this Matter, and not to be wrought off from any of my Opinions.
†5. transitive. To make, create, produce. Obsolete.
1653 W. Harvey tr. Seneca in W. Harvey Pref. sig. a8v
Virgils face is his Idea, and the Exemplar of his future designe: now that which the Artist takes from this Idea, and worketh off [L. operi suo imposuit], is the Picture.
1695–6 c. 20 §3
A..profitable Invention..for the..more speedy..knitting of..Stockings..whereby great Quantities are wrought off in a little tyme.
1718 W. Melmoth Let. 10 Mar. in
II. lxii. 118
I am willing enough to join with you in thinking, that they [sc. the souls of both sexes] maybe wrought off from different models.
1774 J. Granger 271
The characteristic head of Henry VII..., which is unquestionably a cast from a mould wrought off from that politic prince's face.
a. To dispose of or pass off, esp. by fraud, trickery, or misrepresentation; to palm off. Also: to perpetrate (a swindle, scheme, etc.). Chiefly with on. Now rare.
1813 M. L. Weems Let. in
The Maps..may be worked off and in time to give you bank interest.
1869 Sept. 353
Thieves use fences to ‘work off’ stolen goods.
1884 R. Kipling Let. 21 Nov. in C. E. Carrington
I've been writing a story... I'm trying to work it off on some alien paper to get myself pice thereby.
1891 N. Gould xvi. 112
A nice little swindle you worked off on me that time.
1900 ‘M. Twain’ in 7 July (Sat. Rev. Bks. & Art Suppl.) 461/3
He has not written as many plays as I have, but he has had that God-given talent, which I lack, of working them off on the manager.
1948 V. Palmer viii. 58
Corney had been skiting about his claim for months, and everyone knew it was a duffer, but he hung on in the hope of working it off on someone.
b. reflexive. To pass oneself off as someone else. rare.
1894 Dec. 1140/2
He was trying to work himself off as a Trainman.
1897 ‘O. Thanet’ 7
The lightning-rods ain't in it with this last scheme—working his self off as a Methodist parson.
1908 G. B. McCutcheon 101
You are the alleged sister of the woman who is working herself off as Mrs. Medcroft.
7. transitive. colloq. To put to death; to hang. Now rare.
1841 Dickens lxiii. 304
He was ready for working off; such being the case, he considered it their duty, as a civilised and enlightened crowd, to work him off.
1849 H. A. Wise xix. 116
Soon after, they were properly worked off, and swung, dangling, lifeless figures.
1909 45 469
An executioner..attempted to shew how a victim was ‘worked off’.
a. To bring about or produce (a result) by labour or effort; to attain or accomplish (a plan or purpose), esp. with difficulty. Now arch. and rare. In quot. : to preserve to the end.
1534 Phil. ii. 12
Worke out [Gk. κατεργάζεσθε] youre awne saluacion with feare and tremblynge.
1600 Shakespeare i. i. 181
We..Knew that we ventured on such dangerous seas, That if we wrought out life, twas ten to one.
1621 T. Granger vi. ii. 148
Doth he not most often by his wit worke out his woe? and by his strength procure his owne ruine?
1633 Bp. J. Hall i. 537
Hee loves to injoy blessings, but not to earne, and worke them out.
1641 J. Jackson iii. 225
To go about to work out true peace by..compliances with men, is an endlesse work.
1768 A. Tucker II. iii. 298
Made unknowingly to work out the advantage of fellow-creatures, whereof we have not the least knowledge.
1805 Wordsworth iv. 118
When the malicious Fates are bent On working out an ill intent.
O lift your natures up:..work out your freedom.
1874 J. R. Green ii. §7. 95
The fortunes of England were being slowly wrought out in every incident.
2011 A. Rugeruza i. xii. 81
It is difficult to see what God is doing when we are facing trials, but God works his purpose out even through our tears.
b. To make, fashion, or form (a material thing), esp. by digging or cutting; to carve out, dig out, etc. Now rare.Usually with work in past tense or past participle in form wrought.
1600 E. Fairfax tr. Tasso x. xxix. 185
A hollow caue was in the craggie stone, Wrought out by hand [It. fatta] a number yeeres to fore.
1653 J. Rogers i. xiv. 187
Learne (saith Solomon) Prov. 30.26. of the Conies (poore little things) yet they with labour worke out holes and burrowes in the roots of the Rocks.
1719 D. Defoe 79
When I had wrought out some Boards..I made large Shelves.
1774 O. Goldsmith VIII. 108
The old one then, with as much assiduity as it before worked out its hole, now closes the mouth of the passage.
1826 H. Cole tr. M. Luther III. 260
A golden vessel wrought out with file and hammer.
1837 E. Taylor 179
These passages and chambers..had been wrought out by men's hands at some very distant period.
1920 T. Mainland in J. G. F. M. Heddle & T. Mainland 124
Wonderful caves and subterranean passages, wrought out by the action of the sea.
2. intransitive. Originally: to discharge (a debt or obligation) by labour instead of a monetary payment. Now also more generally: to earn money to pay off (a debt). Cf. .In quot. in extended use.
a1535 T. More
xxiv. sig. U.iv
Anthony. There shall no man (whych denieth our sauiour once, & after attaineth remission) scape thorow that denying, one penny the better cheape, but that he shal ere he come in heauen, full suerly paye therefore. Vincent. He shal peraduenture worke it out afterward Uncle in the frutefull workes of penaunce, prayer & almose dede.
1614 T. Godwin 28
They were delivered vp vnto their creditors by the Praetor to worke out the debt, so that after the payment thereof either by mony or worke, they did recover their libertie.
1670 A. Marvell Let. 8 Dec. in
Who can not pay his 5s..shall worke it out in the house of correction.
1773 28 Apr. 3/2
Whereas I..am indebted £28:7:6,..I am desirous to engage and work it out.
1828 L. Kennedy & T. B. Grainger 297
The highway-tax is most frequently worked out.
1841 Dickens i. xiv. 168
Mind you're here my lad to work it out.
1901 B. T. Washington iii. 59
The charge..was ten dollars per month. I was expected to pay a part of this in cash and to work out the remainder.
1948 20 Mar. 36
If the batoneer was suspended, he would not be able to work out his debt.
People should be able to work out their debts free of harassment and hardship.
2009 M. Allen iii. 71
You can replace higher monthly payments with lower ones, giving you a way to work out your debt with a little less strain on your monthly budget.
3. transitive. To work (a mine, vein, seam, etc.) until it is exhausted. Usually in passive.
1545 in G. C. Bond
[The parties shall cause all such coalpits as shall hereafter be] clenewrought out and gettyn [to be] caste in and stopped.
1631 E. Jorden x. 48
Aristotle also tells of a Copper Myne..which being wrought out, turned to an iron Myne.
1770 tr. J.-B. Chappe d'Auteroche 190
When one pit is worked out, another is sought for by following the metallic channels.
1827 Scott I. vii. 143
The Highlands were indeed a rich mine; but they have, I think, been fairly wrought out.
1857 W. Westgarth 226
The diggings, the greater part of which..had been abandoned as ground ‘worked out’, to use the digger's phrase.
1906 J. Hockaday in I. 520/1
As one part [of the rock] was worked out it was filled in with rubble from the new excavations.
(Amer. Geol. Inst.)
Rib,..an elongated pillar left to support the hanging wall, in working out a vein.
25 Apr. 21
These closures were managed as the mines were worked out.
4. transitive. To bring or get out, esp. gradually or with difficulty. Now esp.: to get rid of, remove, or expel through effort. Cf. .
?1560 T. Norton sig. *.ijv
He..worketh out of them [sc. floures]..the swete tasting..& healing honey.
1595 T. Lodge sig. Gv
Uolcatius that subborn'd, deuis'd, and wrought To worke out Themis, from the place he sought.
1605 Bacon ii. sig. Yy2
That..you may worke out the knots and Stondes of the mind.
1607 E. Topsell 226
If the Fox be in the earth,..they take this course to worke him out.
1660 Dryden 14
Tears of joy..Work out and expiate our former guilt.
1691 J. Hartcliffe p. x
Strong Bodies will work out the Poyson they take, by degrees.
To work out the old servants of the Crown, in order to make way for a more uniform system.
1814 J. Nicholson 33
Stir the curd till it is gathered; put it in a strainer, and with your hands work out all the whey.
1897 C. I. Dodd xii. 61
Work the lumps out while adding the milk and boiling the sauce up each time.
1906 1 37
We might properly say that the ‘uncompleted emotion’..could be given an opportunity to work itself out.
1985 May 106/1
Holding the bottle at a 45 degree angle, slowly work out the cork.
1996 Dec. 78/3
We could just make out two small figures plodding along, which we presumed were Kyle and Ed, slowly working the toxins out.
21 July c2/1
I could use a good neck rub,..something to work out the knot of tensions I had acquired.
5. intransitive. Of a thing: to go or come out of something or someone, esp. gradually, or from having been embedded or enclosed. Also: to work loose and come out.In quot. : to lose effect gradually; to wear off.
1591 W. Burton f. 22
It [sc. the power of God] worketh out of God himselfe, in the creatures, as when he created all things.
1601 P. Holland tr. Pliny II. xxx. xiii. 394
To draw forth spils of bones, and make them to worke out.
1683 J. Moxon II. 11
Underlays..are often apt to work out, and..subject it to an unstable and loose position.
1698 J. Fryer 127
The Liquor working out by his Walking, he began to grow weary.
1794 D. Steel I. 151
Forelock, a small wedge of iron driven through a hole near the end of iron pins to keep them from working out.
1832 F. Marryat I. iii. 33
Fresh splinters of the bone continually worked out.
1876 IV. 275/2
There are three modes of cleansing—..2d, by running the beer into casks, and then allowing the yeast to work out through the bung holes.
1921 Aug. 276/1
The end links of the cross chains..are prevented from working out.
25 Mar. 3
Twenty-four hours would be allowed for the drugs to work out of his system.
1998 P. Gill v. 200
Moisture in the interior of the insulation is working out through the initially dried portions.
†6. transitive. To wear (something) out, esp. by labour, or by continued application of force. Obsolete.
1609 E. Topsell iii. 166
So many worke out their Seruauntes strength, & then turn them out to begge.
1611 R. Cotgrave at Ouvrer
Le temps ouvre. Time workes (or weares) out euerie thing.
1848 Thackeray lvii. 514
During what long thankless nights had she worked out her fingers for little Georgy.
a. transitive. To solve (a problem or question) by calculation or arithmetic; to calculate (an amount, etc.); (more generally) to find the solution to (a problem, difficulty, etc.) by reasoning. Also: to find out or come to (an answer, solution). Also with clause as object.
1719 No. 155.
Thus the Algebraist sets out with a very few simple, but clear Principles, which enable him to work out a very intricate Question.
1774 P. V. Fithian Jrnl. 16 Aug. in
Bob..worked out three Sums in Reduction compound.
Day after day, Old Sol and Captain Cuttle kept her reckoning..and