verb

[NO OBJECT]
  • 1Be engaged in physical or mental activity in order to achieve a result; do work.

    ‘an engineer who was working on a design for a more efficient wing’
    ‘new contracts forcing employees to work longer hours’
    • ‘Was working on it very different from working with the whole band?’
    • ‘Chudleigh added that principals were working longer hours under tremendous pressure.’
    • ‘How was it like to come from working on your own to working with three other people on a project that was already established?’
    • ‘One of the great highlights of working on the show has been working with Henry Winkler.’
    • ‘California says overtime starts any day an hourly employee works over eight hours in a day.’
    • ‘This is the least amount of money that an employer may pay an employee per hour worked.’
    • ‘I would like to offer my congratulations to all those pupils and staff who have worked hard towards achieving this great set of results.’
    • ‘We have been working on it but maybe we are working with players who are slow to pick up on it.’
    • ‘Some of this is the result of efforts by the town council and some is the result of the council working with others to achieve them.’
    • ‘Despite my physical and mental exhaustion, the three of us worked well together and we had a good time.’
    • ‘The employees were given notes revealing how many hours they had worked at Jordan's.’
    • ‘Although women worked longer hours than men, their contribution to family activities was less appreciated.’
    • ‘To do so is grossly unfair to the students who work so hard to achieve those results.’
    • ‘My dad works during the day, but when he's home he's usually working on his car or playing ball with my brothers.’
    • ‘She worked hard all her life, rearing her family and working on the farm.’
    • ‘He claimed that if a certain large deal he was working on came off, he would never have to work again.’
    • ‘He wasn't working on the case, but was familiar with the gang Aaron worked for.’
    • ‘We are now working on a one delivery a day basis, with mail being extremely busy and personnel working under immense pressure.’
    • ‘The work ethic culture has resulted in men working longer hours than in any other European country.’
    • ‘He worked and enjoyed different things than going out and working on the tennis.’
    toil, labour, exert oneself, slave, slave away, plod away
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Be employed in a specified occupation or field.
      ‘he worked as a waiter in a rather shabby restaurant’
      • ‘Mr Woodall now plans to work as a heavy goods vehicle driver, and has abandoned the idea of ever working on a ship again.’
      • ‘Before becoming an MSP, Martin worked as a researcher and was employed to take minutes of the party's cabinet meetings.’
      • ‘He worked for much of the time as an engineer, working on the fortifications of various cities.’
      • ‘She worked as a secretary and had no occupational exposure to toxic fumes.’
      • ‘He worked as a bookkeeper at various other businesses in Steinbach until his retirement at age 70.’
      • ‘Ann worked as a field sales co-ordinator, organising a sales force operating throughout the country.’
      • ‘I've never ever worked in an office before, I've only ever worked as a waitress.’
      • ‘In Blagoevgrad, Smith worked as a small business development volunteer.’
      • ‘He took courses in the field, then worked as a nightclub bouncer and a bodyguard.’
      • ‘She also worked as a careers consultant at Shenfield High for 16 years.’
      • ‘He has worked as a professional actor and singer in the West End but increasingly he is drawn to directing.’
      • ‘He worked as a ranger employed by the council at the Flitch Way Country Park, which runs from Bishop's Stortford to Braintree.’
      • ‘Frank worked in the Paper Mills and Waterford Crystal for a number of years and for the last few years he worked as a taxi driver.’
      • ‘Tralee native June Hewitt has worked as a professional artist from her home studio for a number of years.’
      • ‘For years Paul had worked in the hospitality business working mainly in bars that had loud music.’
      • ‘Geoff also worked as the occupational medical officer at the then Phillips television factory in Dunfermline.’
      • ‘He had previously worked as a business and town planner for Boots in Nottingham, where he still lives.’
      • ‘Before that, he had worked as a volunteer in youth clubs, while employed as a printing and advertising manager.’
      • ‘Many worked as farmers in fields owned by the lords and their lives were controlled by the farming year.’
      • ‘I worked as a cardex clerk for one company and was employed at a car hire company.’
      be employed, have a job, earn one's living, hold down a job, do business, follow one's trade, ply one's trade
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2with object Set to or keep at work.
      ‘Jane is working you too hard’
      • ‘Kat thinks that Chrissie's working her too hard, and persuades her to give Little Mo the time off.’
      • ‘His wife, who is a very smart and capable campaigner in her own right, has also worked the press very hard.’
      • ‘Honestly, he worked us hard, but after the session I actually had so much energy I felt like doing another hour!’
      • ‘He works Miles hard and does all the thinking for Angus, who, right from the beginning, is seen to be a few straws short of a bale.’
      • ‘Hopefully, we know him now and we know we can work him harder and that he is able for it.’
      • ‘Bruce works his pupils hard, but there is a great atmosphere in his gym, and between yelling at us to try harder, he finds plenty of time to talk smack to everyone.’
      • ‘Stefano works Claudio hard, but provides digs in his house and introduces him to the world of drag racing.’
      • ‘Duck legs have fairly tough meat - the legs are worked hard during their lifespan, making the flesh taut and muscly.’
      • ‘They worked me so hard I can't remember my 20s, apart from the fact I broke out in rashes.’
      • ‘It only took four days to fit it all together but she worked me hard.’
      • ‘He works you really hard and demands that things are done right.’
      • ‘He was demanding as a director, but I wouldn't agree that he worked you too hard.’
      • ‘We have got a great goalkeeping coach called Seamus McDonagh who works you hard and is very encouraging.’
      • ‘Yes, we worked you too hard in the last case, Mr Besanko, we would like to hear first from the respondent.’
      • ‘Claudio Bozzini, the club's goalkeeping coach, works his three charges hard.’
      • ‘The fitness coaches worked us hard in pre-season, and they are still working us hard.’
      • ‘The smallest petrol version proved a willing performer and very refined, even when being worked hard.’
      • ‘The rich, throat-catching smell of hard worked packhorses hit me even as I drew in a sharp gasp of amazement.’
    3. 1.3with object Practise one's occupation in or at (a particular place)
      ‘I worked a few clubs and so forth’
      • ‘The evening takes the form of a memory play told by the elderly Kat, now a shoeshine boy working the streets, who looks back at his younger self.’
      • ‘Donna has dreams of working the friendly skies of New York and Paris and isn't ready to give her heart to anyone just yet.’
      • ‘I don't believe there are any women working the streets who want to be there.’
      • ‘He worked the farm with one of his brothers and combined it with rugby, but when his brother wanted to set up his own business Logan bought him out.’
      • ‘By 1841 the old Carleton Hall estate was worked by three farmers, possibly tenants of Lane Fox estates.’
      • ‘Men were busy working on architecture or training in the army while young ladies worked the market place.’
      • ‘One of six children, his father worked a small farm and laboured for the county council to make ends meet.’
      • ‘For a nostalgic two hours, the rag and bone man was working the streets of Salford again.’
      • ‘Lynda has now come off the drugs and the drink - and she has turned her back on working the streets.’
      • ‘Once a farm was farmed by many men/women and their families, but nowadays farms are often worked by one person.’
      • ‘Nobody that has ever worked the killing room will ever tell you that you will catch every one, no matter how hard you try.’
      • ‘His father owned and worked a small farm of some fifty acres in County Derry in Northern Ireland.’
      • ‘You're working the streets, you go home at night, you take a hit and fall asleep in your clothes.’
      • ‘Beats the hell out of stripping or working the streets like some whore doesn't it?’
      • ‘The Moore Valley farmer said he has six sons and one daughter, but Pat the eldest son works the farm with him.’
      • ‘If you're working an area where there is a fast tide, then you should still be able to get away with an uptide rod and say 6ozs of lead.’
      • ‘Why was T J Hooker still working the streets when he was a Sergeant, and should have been ensconced in a cosy desk job at his age?’
      • ‘Most of the prostitutes working the streets have a drug problem, and fund their habit by prostitution.’
      • ‘She spent half of her life working the streets of the major cities of Saskatchewan.’
      • ‘She may be a prostitute working the streets of Leith but she still has standards.’
    4. 1.4West Indian with object Be engaged in (a particular occupation)
      ‘I worked fireman on ships’
  • 2(of a machine or system) function, especially properly or effectively.

    ‘his phone doesn't work unless he goes to a high point’
    • ‘Make sure that whomever you buy from is willing to work with you until the system is working properly.’
    • ‘I want to make sure the court system is working properly and is going to do correct justice.’
    • ‘I think that saying this system works if properly executed is to miss the point.’
    • ‘We call them mistakes because the machine isn't working the way we think it should.’
    • ‘When CIS was updating its website, it organised dummy runs to ensure that its systems were working properly.’
    • ‘But even at the highest levels there is a tacit acknowledgment that the system is not working properly.’
    • ‘It's an example of litigation which needn't have happened had the system worked properly.’
    • ‘He has literally kept some of our offices and machines working by duct tape and force of will alone.’
    • ‘I'm told the in-car Global Satellite Positioning system is not working properly.’
    • ‘The best thing was that the AccuVote machine worked the way it was supposed to work.’
    • ‘It could be necessary after a virus attack to roll back to a time when the system worked properly.’
    • ‘She was told the machines were not working and that she must come back on another day.’
    • ‘Hans had promised him that the machine would work this time and now was the time to prove it.’
    • ‘Fires were started, however, none caught as the sprinkler system worked effectively.’
    • ‘Walhi's lawyers, however, said the early warning system had not worked properly.’
    • ‘So many of our institutions and systems are not working properly, including the judiciary.’
    • ‘Although it is of the same size as an old sewing machine, it still works fine.’
    • ‘His first machine did not work so he took it to England and with help got it working.’
    • ‘A warning device must be installed to alert you if the system stops working properly.’
    • ‘We react with surprise and shock when things go wrong with our own molecular machinery, but it is far more astonishing that the machinery works at all.’
    function, go, run, operate, perform
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 (with reference to a machine or machine part) be or cause to be in operation.
      no object ‘the device is designed to go into a special ‘rest’ state when it's not working’
      with object ‘teaching customers how to work a VCR’
      • ‘Women snigger at men for being unable to work a washing machine, men snigger at women for being bad drivers.’
      • ‘As we are a school, it is insane having a lab where 4-6 machines are not working at one time.’
      • ‘A machine working two shifts costs much less by the hour than that same machine working a single shift.’
      • ‘The machine worked all hours - if it did not break down - and it needed few people to keep it running.’
      • ‘Before the advent of the computer I worked a manual Comptometer machine, the keys of which had to be pounded.’
      • ‘He talked to her as the machines worked, repairing the damage that his blast had wreaked.’
      • ‘The travel back was one filled with only the sound of the heater blowing and the engine working.’
      • ‘She sees an Asian woman having difficulty working the machine and helps her to understand it.’
      • ‘Dad worked these trains regularly and for many years they were his regular assignment.’
      • ‘He looked back at the counter where a blonde haired girl was busy working the machines.’
      • ‘As the machine worked, Raven straightened, allowing herself a moment to rub the ache in her side.’
      operate, use, handle, control, manipulate, manoeuvre, drive, run, direct
      View synonyms
  • 3(of a plan or method) have the desired result or effect.

    ‘the desperate ploy had worked’
    • ‘If the CCTV pilot plan works, the scheme, already hugely successful on local buses, could be extended to other taxis.’
    • ‘Fortunately, their plan worked - but not without huge barriers along the way.’
    • ‘This method works only with insurance plans that use coinsurance, where patients pay a portion of their bills until they reach a maximum.’
    • ‘Indeed for most of the first half the Down tactical plan had worked marvellously.’
    • ‘Jack's plan is working - to prove she's useless and then she won't be a threat.’
    • ‘We had a great time stalking redfish in two feet of water with fly or spinning rod, both methods worked for us.’
    • ‘This method works satisfactorily and is technically the simplest of the 3 options.’
    • ‘If you can't decide which method works best for you, experiment with one each day.’
    • ‘Whether Brown's plan works or not could decide who becomes the next Prime Minister.’
    • ‘The company was restructured five times in five years; no plan worked better than the last one.’
    • ‘This method works if the water reservoir in the top 5 feet of soil is at or near field capacity at planting time.’
    • ‘It's annoying me more than anyone that my plan isn't working, believe me.’
    • ‘It is a propaganda unit designed to sell the message that this Government's strategic plan is working.’
    • ‘Of course, this method works best when the kids hear a title they really do enjoy.’
    • ‘Early indications are that the method is working and biologists are planning to eventually restock the area with young fish.’
    • ‘Apparantly this method works due to the way our brains store information, and how the things we remember are reinforced each time we look at them.’
    • ‘On Wednesday Beau was freaking out about the plan not working, so I was actually a bit concerned.’
    • ‘I assume the method works better if it is used after serious sleep deprivation.’
    • ‘In both cases the game plan worked, and McClaren admitted that the result was a huge relief.’
    • ‘Jacquelyn stood in awe that her plan actually worked and as a result she could barely move.’
    succeed, be successful, work out, turn out well, go as planned, have the desired result, get results
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    1. 3.1with object Produce as a result.
      ‘with a dash of blusher here and there, you can work miracles’
      • ‘It can't be stated enough how everyone should thank them both - they have worked a miracle.’
      • ‘If ever a country provided its team with all the motivation they needed to work miracles, then this is surely it.’
      • ‘We were convinced she was going to die, but fortunately the doctors worked a miracle.’
      • ‘For Hugh, a 22-year-old IT worker, has wrought a minor miracle.’
      • ‘England do not have anyone to come in and work miracles and it would be foolish to pick a new team and hope for the best.’
      • ‘Check out these before and after photos to see how cheaply and easily miracles can be worked.’
      • ‘Anyway, lame puns aside, the cast of Hollyoaks have worked a miracle.’
      • ‘The miracle has been wrought by recognising health as a human right - and therefore the responsibility of the state - and acting accordingly.’
      • ‘Miracles will be wrought, the sick will be healed and signs and wonders will follow the believers.’
      • ‘What is certain is that if Barwick could work that miracle, merely knighting him would be an insult.’
      • ‘And God wrought special miracles by the hand of Paul’
      • ‘And now, when my son Jamie is almost the same age, I realize my father worked a miracle!’
      • ‘The ground staff worked miracles at Collegiate to make the pitch playable, albeit for a game reduced to 36 overs.’
      • ‘Sometimes a word of truth works the miracle, but, at times, years of preaching will do nothing.’
      • ‘I have often lived through that hour, that day, that week, in which was wrought the miracle of my transition from one world into another; for I did indeed pass into another world.’
      • ‘A balanced diet together with a gentle daily or weekly exercise regime can work miracles.’
      • ‘Not that they didn't work the odd miracle at the odd club, but for years the glories they traded on were well past.’
      • ‘However, having protested defeat by the venison, Vix worked her usual miracle and found room for a pudding.’
      • ‘If you could work that kind of miracle, you could go into medicine and make a mint.’
      • ‘He was pretending, she should have known that getting his attention was like working a miracle.’
      bring about, accomplish, achieve, produce, do, perform, carry out, implement, execute, create, engender, contrive, effect
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    2. 3.2 Make efforts to achieve something; campaign.
      ‘they are dedicated to working for a better future for the generations to come’
      • ‘Legendre, an unemployed father of three, occupies all his free time working for the revolution.’
      • ‘He was in the forefront for a number of these issues, working for the poor and the needy and homeless.’
      • ‘The deans and chancellors of these institutions are committed to working for change.’
      • ‘Both local authorities say they are committed to working for better transport links and these efforts must continue.’
      • ‘That we are truly working for the common good - a good which really delivers the well-being and the flourishing of us all.’
      • ‘Others, who have been working for long-term solutions, don't have much to cheer about.’
      • ‘By adding borrowed money to your own funds you can increase the total amount of money working for you.’
      • ‘But just because they are in Canada does not mean they have stopped working for the Burmese people.’
    3. 3.3informal with object Arrange or contrive.
      ‘the chairman was prepared to work it for Phillip if he was interested’
      • ‘His editor, Clive Barnaby, wanted someone on the job who was prepared to work the local angles.’
      • ‘That inactivity puts a greater premium on working a deal with unrestricted free agent James Dexter, its projected starter at left guard.’
      • ‘Sadly it wouldn't be human if someone hadn't managed to work an angle on how to turn what happened to the city yesterday to their advantage.’
    4. 3.4work on/upon Exert influence or persuasion on.
      ‘she worked upon the sympathy of her associates’
      • ‘In that moment, I became absurdly sure that a supernatural force was working upon me, pushing and pulling me toward an unknown fate, a road at whose end stood the slight, cold figure currently bargaining with my father.’
      • ‘Some occult influence was at work upon me throughout those dark hours, I am positively certain.’
      • ‘At this late stage, the elites found themselves forced to work upon the increasingly dysfunctional myths.’
      • ‘Even now we are working on Mr Flintoff being a guest upon his return from Down Under.’
      • ‘Your class gave me the tools to understand the forces at work upon my conscience and to make a reasoned decision.’
      persuade, manipulate, influence, sway, put pressure on, lean on
      View synonyms
    5. 3.5with object Use one's persuasive power to stir the emotions of.
      ‘the born politician's art of working a crowd’
      • ‘Still, one had to marvel again at the man's enthusiasm for working a crowd, even someone else's.’
      • ‘You don't get to have a decent career in music without knowing how to work a crowd.’
      • ‘Clad in gladrags and working the crowds Al Gore made a democratic appearance.’
      • ‘He is brilliant when he works the crowd with his radio mike.’
      • ‘He knows how to work a crowd, he gives a good sermon and produces a splendid pulpit sweat.’
      • ‘Our bit was well received and Gilz did an excellent job of working the crowd.’
      • ‘Just before battle commenced, some of the warriors worked the crowd to get them in the mood.’
      • ‘His concerns were for war and peace, grand speeches, red carpets and working the crowds.’
      • ‘Not only did he play a good match, at just 18 years of age he was working the crowd like a pro!’
      • ‘It lasted around five hours, with a number of musicians and speakers working a crowd, made up of all ethnic backgrounds.’
      • ‘He hopped about energetically, did the trademark Edwin moves, played congas and really worked the crowd.’
      • ‘Justin is a fantastic front man who definitely knows how to work a crowd.’
      • ‘He worked the crowd brilliantly, and was to keep everyone laughing through what proved a long night.’
      • ‘The man knows how to work the crowd, but the smiley banter between songs keeps it from looking too cynical.’
      • ‘In between speakers, the chairman, introduced only as Jack, works the crowd like an old hand.’
      • ‘He's working the crowd, but it's more like he wants to than he has to.’
      • ‘Big ups also go to Leon Wadham and his beautiful cardie, who worked the crowd like a seasoned professional.’
      • ‘The Beastie Boys worked the crowd into a frenzy when they ran off to a smaller stage at the venue's opposite end.’
      • ‘Another person who could be seen working the crowd was director Jayaraj.’
      • ‘Christine Caughey and Richard Simpson turned up to have a peek at our meeting and our working the crowd.’
      stir, stir up, excite, drive, move, spur, rouse, fire, galvanize
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  • 4with object and adverbial or complement Bring (a material or mixture) to a desired shape or consistency by hammering, kneading, etc.

    ‘work the mixture into a paste with your hands’
    • ‘Here it is not advisable to work the soil too well for this promotes weed growth.’
    • ‘Using your fingers, draw in the flour and work the mixture into a dough, adding more water if necessary.’
    • ‘Next add the ginger, turmeric and oil and work the ingredients into a thick brown paste.’
    • ‘Then the mixture is worked, gently at first, and then more vigorously.’
    • ‘He works the metal into small chunks before swallowing it, his stomach acids fizz at it, then it blasts out at high speed the other end.’
    • ‘The early medieval carpenter was not only skilled in working the wood, but also in selecting the correct timber and shape for the job.’
    • ‘It is important to work the dough until it is nice and shiny, as this gives it the al dente texture.’
    • ‘The kneading can be quite tiring but you need to work the dough if the bread is going to be good.’
    • ‘Rub the butter into the flour mixture, working until you have no lumps bigger than a pea.’
    • ‘For most of the United States, plant strawberries in spring as soon as the soil can be worked.’
    • ‘Leather is worked into luxurious softness and seams are reduced to a bare minimum.’
    • ‘That's the reason for the standard caution against working the soil too early in the year.’
    • ‘The hammer is for hammering in the nails that lie next to it, for working the leather into shoes, and so on.’
    • ‘Sift the flour with the baking powder into the bowl and work the mixture with your hand until it forms a firm dough.’
    • ‘Prepare a site for wildflowers by working the soil using a spade, rototiller or plow.’
    • ‘The bare receiver forging is impressive, especially to anyone who works metal for a living.’
    • ‘The efficient cause of a baked clay vase is the artist who works the clay and then bakes it.’
    • ‘By working the metal, as by cold rolling, its strength can be approximately doubled.’
    • ‘Dip your fingers into it before working the rice and it'll all be a lot simpler.’
    • ‘Preferably, soil should be worked up at least four to six weeks before roses are planted in a new bed.’
    knead, squeeze, form, shape, fashion, mould, model
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    1. 4.1work inno object Produce artistic pieces using (a particular material or medium)
      ‘he works in clay over a very strong frame’
      • ‘Dr. Bob works in cypress, training trees over many years to grow in specific shapes.’
      • ‘As well as using clear, sandblasted glass, Kelly works in cheery yellow and orange.’
      • ‘The limner was never solely a miniaturist, but worked in other formats and media too.’
    2. 4.2with object Produce (an article or design) using a specified material or sewing stitch.
      ‘the castle itself is worked in tent stitch’
      • ‘The pole screens had very finely worked needlework panels, often executed during their hours of leisure by the ladies of the house.’
      • ‘I'm working these on 72 stitches, using some Regia Shadow that was in my stash.’
      • ‘I then worked a satin type stitch down each side, with a different design down the middle.’
      • ‘A large allegorical needlework picture wrought by Agnes Park hangs above the mantel.’
      • ‘I'm sure you could work some neat designs into the building front using the colour differences.’
      • ‘Beautifully worked stitches feature in many examples of white work in children's dresses and gowns.’
    3. 4.3with object Cultivate (land) or extract materials from (a mine or quarry)
      ‘contracts and leases to work the mines’
      • ‘One of the local farmers working their land on the steep banks of the lake, perhaps?’
      • ‘Wanlockhead was, like the neighbouring village of Leadhills, built as a mining town, housing the men who worked the lead mines.’
      • ‘This may well have been the case but the company only worked the mine for a short time during which several thousand tons of ore were treated.’
      • ‘For the most part, the goblins worked the mines, humans were only sent there for punishment.’
      • ‘The row of cottages below and behind you, is known as Irish Row, named after some of the men who worked the mines.’
      • ‘Gilberth explains how his practices have changed even in the few years he's worked this land.’
      • ‘The pastoralist class disperse the great mass of peasants who traditionally worked the land under the thumb of feudal landlords.’
      • ‘It's a common assumption that most homes had a slave or two, while most farms and quarries were almost exclusively worked by slave labor.’
      • ‘Mr Spargo took shares in a company formed for working a mine which he sold to the company.’
      • ‘The mine has been worked for its red, green and white salt for over 700 years and it is still operational.’
      • ‘The legend has it that Peralta worked the mine with a high return for several years.’
      • ‘Over the next 40 years, many companies worked mines along the difficult Mokau River.’
      • ‘Serfs worked the land and produced the goods that the lord and his manor needed.’
      • ‘Mines were being worked by strange creatures and humanoid statues with pickaxes for hands.’
      • ‘All mining is done on a small scale, with just a few people working each mine.’
      • ‘They were farming people who worked the land and tended to the livestock.’
      • ‘He shows us the new checkpoints and yellow gates that let farmers work the land on either side of the divide.’
      • ‘It is the rent that kings took for allowing the serfs and others to work the land that the kings owned.’
      • ‘In time of war, the other farmers would work his land, which was granted by the state.’
      • ‘The ones who were still working the mines by choice were paid at the end of the week, I found out.’
      cultivate, farm, till, plough
      View synonyms
  • 5Move or cause to move gradually or with difficulty into another position.

    with object and adverbial or complement ‘comb hair from tip to root, working out the knots at the end’
    no object, with adverbial or complement ‘look for small parts that might work loose’
    • ‘He sewed me up again and told me if they worked loose again, that I shouldn't be concerned, because I was healing very quickly.’
    • ‘Our advice is to secure it very firmly, be conservative with your speed and make frequent stops to ensure it isn't working loose.’
    • ‘No matter how tightly I tie the things they work loose after about twenty steps.’
    • ‘Several of my toes commenced to blacken and fester near the tips and the nails worked loose.’
    manoeuvre, manipulate, negotiate, guide, edge
    manoeuvre, make, thread, wind, weave
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    1. 5.1no object (of a person's features) move violently or convulsively.
      ‘hair wild, mouth working furiously’
      • ‘Rena was gaping like a fish, her mouth working furiously but she didn't emit a single word.’
      • ‘His watery eyes blink at me and his mouth works without speech.’
      • ‘She gapes at us and her mouth works but no sound issues forth.’
      • ‘Her mouth worked furiously trying to come up some excuse for her outburst.’
      • ‘Tothas stared at him, mouth working with fear for his mistress, then nodded sharply.’
      • ‘Her mouth was working silently, trying to form words but unable to receive any from her brain.’
      • ‘Sekher lay sprawled upon his back, twitching spasmodically, mouth working silently.’
      • ‘Her other hand is at the back of my head now, her jaw working as if my mouth is a pulpy piece of fruit she's eating.’
      • ‘The muscles in his jaw were working furiously as he clenched and unclenched his fingers.’
      • ‘Mike was glaring at Richard, his eyes dark, a muscle in his cheek working furiously.’
      twitch, quiver, twist, move spasmodically, convulse
      View synonyms
    2. 5.2Sailing no object, with adverbial Make progress to windward, with repeated tacking.
      ‘trying to work to windward in light airs’
      • ‘A weatherly ship is one that works well to windward, making but little leeway.’
  • 6with object Bring into a specified emotional state.

    ‘Harold had worked himself into a minor rage’
    • ‘I agree with Mr. Jenkins, I think you can work yourself into a state of real paranoia here if you're not careful.’
    • ‘Finally I had worked myself into a state of hysterics so much so that I could not breathe.’
    • ‘Without rubbing his nose in the emotional frenzy he works himself into, try talking calmly to your boyfriend and take a stab at joint problem solving.’
    • ‘Kenneth inwardly winced, but she said nothing, just fluttered about, working herself into a proper fury until Jeremy left.’
    • ‘Everybody's working themselves into a lather over one mad cow, and it's bloody ridiculous.’
    stir, stir up, excite, drive, move, spur, rouse, fire, galvanize
    View synonyms