verb

[NO OBJECT]
  • 1Be engaged in physical or mental activity in order to achieve a purpose or result, especially in one's job; do work.

    ‘an engineer who had been working on a design for a more efficient wing’
    ‘new contracts forcing employees to work longer hours’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘To do so is grossly unfair to the students who work so hard to achieve those results.’
    • ‘Although women worked longer hours than men, their contribution to family activities was less appreciated.’
    • ‘We have been working on it but maybe we are working with players who are slow to pick up on it.’
    • ‘California says overtime starts any day an hourly employee works over eight hours in a day.’
    • ‘He worked and enjoyed different things than going out and working on the tennis.’
    • ‘He wasn't working on the case, but was familiar with the gang Aaron worked for.’
    • ‘This is the least amount of money that an employer may pay an employee per hour worked.’
    • ‘Was working on it very different from working with the whole band?’
    • ‘How was it like to come from working on your own to working with three other people on a project that was already established?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I would like to offer my congratulations to all those pupils and staff who have worked hard towards achieving this great set of results.’
    • ‘She worked hard all her life, rearing her family and working on the farm.’
    • ‘One of the great highlights of working on the show has been working with Henry Winkler.’
    • ‘Chudleigh added that principals were working longer hours under tremendous pressure.’
    • ‘He claimed that if a certain large deal he was working on came off, he would never have to work again.’
    • ‘We are now working on a one delivery a day basis, with mail being extremely busy and personnel working under immense pressure.’
    • ‘My dad works during the day, but when he's home he's usually working on his car or playing ball with my brothers.’
    • ‘The work ethic culture has resulted in men working longer hours than in any other European country.’
    toil, labour, exert oneself, slave, slave away, plod away
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    1. 1.1 Be employed in a specified occupation or field.
      ‘Taylor has worked in education for 17 years’
      • ‘For years Paul had worked in the hospitality business working mainly in bars that had loud music.’
      • ‘She worked as a secretary and had no occupational exposure to toxic fumes.’
      • ‘He took courses in the field, then worked as a nightclub bouncer and a bodyguard.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He had previously worked as a business and town planner for Boots in Nottingham, where he still lives.’
      • ‘He has worked as a professional actor and singer in the West End but increasingly he is drawn to directing.’
      • ‘Ann worked as a field sales co-ordinator, organising a sales force operating throughout the country.’
      • ‘I worked as a cardex clerk for one company and was employed at a car hire company.’
      • ‘He worked as a bookkeeper at various other businesses in Steinbach until his retirement at age 70.’
      • ‘In Blagoevgrad, Smith worked as a small business development volunteer.’
      • ‘Before becoming an MSP, Martin worked as a researcher and was employed to take minutes of the party's cabinet meetings.’
      • ‘I've never ever worked in an office before, I've only ever worked as a waitress.’
      • ‘Geoff also worked as the occupational medical officer at the then Phillips television factory in Dunfermline.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He worked as a ranger employed by the council at the Flitch Way Country Park, which runs from Bishop's Stortford to Braintree.’
      • ‘Mr Woodall now plans to work as a heavy goods vehicle driver, and has abandoned the idea of ever working on a ship again.’
      • ‘Tralee native June Hewitt has worked as a professional artist from her home studio for a number of years.’
      • ‘She also worked as a careers consultant at Shenfield High for 16 years.’
      • ‘He worked for much of the time as an engineer, working on the fortifications of various cities.’
      be employed, have a job, earn one's living, hold down a job, do business, follow one's trade, ply one's trade
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    2. 1.2with object Set to or keep at work.
      ‘Jane is working you too hard’
      • ‘Hopefully, we know him now and we know we can work him harder and that he is able for it.’
      • ‘Stefano works Claudio hard, but provides digs in his house and introduces him to the world of drag racing.’
      • ‘We have got a great goalkeeping coach called Seamus McDonagh who works you hard and is very encouraging.’
      • ‘It only took four days to fit it all together but she worked me hard.’
      • ‘His wife, who is a very smart and capable campaigner in her own right, has also worked the press very hard.’
      • ‘The smallest petrol version proved a willing performer and very refined, even when being worked hard.’
      • ‘Kat thinks that Chrissie's working her too hard, and persuades her to give Little Mo the time off.’
      • ‘The fitness coaches worked us hard in pre-season, and they are still working us hard.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Honestly, he worked us hard, but after the session I actually had so much energy I felt like doing another hour!’
      • ‘He works you really hard and demands that things are done right.’
      • ‘Duck legs have fairly tough meat - the legs are worked hard during their lifespan, making the flesh taut and muscly.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He was demanding as a director, but I wouldn't agree that he worked you too hard.’
      • ‘They worked me so hard I can't remember my 20s, apart from the fact I broke out in rashes.’
      • ‘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 Solve (a puzzle or mathematical problem)
      ‘she spent her days working crosswords’
      • ‘So I just dug around and found a sheet or two where we'd taken a listless stab at working a problem.’
      • ‘Charlie found him busy at the kitchen table, working yet another crossword puzzle.’
      • ‘I had worked the problem almost to the end but needed their dial up access number for the final stage.’
      • ‘Lay and Strang end each section with short sets of fully worked sample problems.’
      • ‘It was about this argument I had with a woman on a plane and about working a crossword puzzle.’
      • ‘The instructor also worked problems and reviewed problems from past quizzes in the class.’
    4. 1.4with object Practice one's occupation or operate in or at (a particular place)
      ‘I worked a few clubs and so forth’
      • ‘She may be a prostitute working the streets of Leith but she still has standards.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘His father owned and worked a small farm of some fifty acres in County Derry in Northern Ireland.’
      • ‘Nobody that has ever worked the killing room will ever tell you that you will catch every one, no matter how hard you try.’
      • ‘Beats the hell out of stripping or working the streets like some whore doesn't it?’
      • ‘For a nostalgic two hours, the rag and bone man was working the streets of Salford again.’
      • ‘Men were busy working on architecture or training in the army while young ladies worked the market place.’
      • ‘Once a farm was farmed by many men/women and their families, but nowadays farms are often worked by one person.’
      • ‘The Moore Valley farmer said he has six sons and one daughter, but Pat the eldest son works the farm with him.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘Lynda has now come off the drugs and the drink - and she has turned her back on working the streets.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I don't believe there are any women working the streets who want to be there.’
      • ‘One of six children, his father worked a small farm and laboured for the county council to make ends meet.’
      • ‘Most of the prostitutes working the streets have a drug problem, and fund their habit by prostitution.’
      • ‘You're working the streets, you go home at night, you take a hit and fall asleep in your clothes.’
      • ‘By 1841 the old Carleton Hall estate was worked by three farmers, possibly tenants of Lane Fox estates.’
      • ‘She spent half of her life working the streets of the major cities of Saskatchewan.’
  • 2(of a machine or system) operate or function, especially properly or effectively.

    ‘his cell phone doesn't work unless he goes to a high point’
    • ‘Walhi's lawyers, however, said the early warning system had not worked properly.’
    • ‘He has literally kept some of our offices and machines working by duct tape and force of will alone.’
    • ‘So many of our institutions and systems are not working properly, including the judiciary.’
    • ‘I want to make sure the court system is working properly and is going to do correct justice.’
    • ‘A warning device must be installed to alert you if the system stops working properly.’
    • ‘I'm told the in-car Global Satellite Positioning system is not working properly.’
    • ‘It could be necessary after a virus attack to roll back to a time when the system worked properly.’
    • ‘Although it is of the same size as an old sewing machine, it still works fine.’
    • ‘She was told the machines were not working and that she must come back on another day.’
    • ‘When CIS was updating its website, it organised dummy runs to ensure that its systems were working properly.’
    • ‘We call them mistakes because the machine isn't working the way we think it should.’
    • ‘But even at the highest levels there is a tacit acknowledgment that the system is not working properly.’
    • ‘The best thing was that the AccuVote machine worked the way it was supposed to work.’
    • ‘It's an example of litigation which needn't have happened had the system worked properly.’
    • ‘Make sure that whomever you buy from is willing to work with you until the system is 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.’
    • ‘His first machine did not work so he took it to England and with help got it working.’
    • ‘Fires were started, however, none caught as the sprinkler system worked effectively.’
    • ‘Hans had promised him that the machine would work this time and now was the time to prove it.’
    • ‘I think that saying this system works if properly executed is to miss the point.’
    function, go, run, operate, perform
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    1. 2.1 (of a machine or a part of it) run; go through regular motions.
      ‘it's designed to go into a special “rest” state when it's not working’
    2. 2.2with object Cause (a device or machine) to operate.
      ‘teaching customers how to work a PC’
      • ‘Women snigger at men for being unable to work a washing machine, men snigger at women for being bad drivers.’
      • ‘As the machine worked, Raven straightened, allowing herself a moment to rub the ache in her side.’
      • ‘As we are a school, it is insane having a lab where 4-6 machines are not working at one time.’
      • ‘Dad worked these trains regularly and for many years they were his regular assignment.’
      • ‘She sees an Asian woman having difficulty working the machine and helps her to understand it.’
      • ‘The travel back was one filled with only the sound of the heater blowing and the engine working.’
      • ‘He looked back at the counter where a blonde haired girl was busy working the machines.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He talked to her as the machines worked, repairing the damage that his blast had wreaked.’
      • ‘Before the advent of the computer I worked a manual Comptometer machine, the keys of which had to be pounded.’
      operate, use, handle, control, manipulate, manoeuvre, drive, run, direct
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  • 3(of a plan or method) have the desired result or effect.

    ‘the desperate ploy had worked’
    • ‘On Wednesday Beau was freaking out about the plan not working, so I was actually a bit concerned.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Jacquelyn stood in awe that her plan actually worked and as a result she could barely move.’
    • ‘Indeed for most of the first half the Down tactical plan had worked marvellously.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘If you can't decide which method works best for you, experiment with one each day.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Jack's plan is working - to prove she's useless and then she won't be a threat.’
    • ‘If the CCTV pilot plan works, the scheme, already hugely successful on local buses, could be extended to other taxis.’
    • ‘This method works only with insurance plans that use coinsurance, where patients pay a portion of their bills until they reach a maximum.’
    • ‘In both cases the game plan worked, and McClaren admitted that the result was a huge relief.’
    • ‘I assume the method works better if it is used after serious sleep deprivation.’
    • ‘Early indications are that the method is working and biologists are planning to eventually restock the area with young fish.’
    • ‘The company was restructured five times in five years; no plan worked better than the last one.’
    • ‘Fortunately, their plan worked - but not without huge barriers along the way.’
    • ‘Whether Brown's plan works or not could decide who becomes the next Prime Minister.’
    • ‘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.’
    succeed, be successful, work out, turn out well, go as planned, have the desired result, get results
    succeed, be successful, work, work out, turn out well, go as planned, have the desired result, get results, be efficacious
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    1. 3.1with object Bring about; produce as a result.
      ‘with a dash of blusher here and there, you can work miracles’
      • ‘The ground staff worked miracles at Collegiate to make the pitch playable, albeit for a game reduced to 36 overs.’
      • ‘If you could work that kind of miracle, you could go into medicine and make a mint.’
      • ‘We were convinced she was going to die, but fortunately the doctors worked a miracle.’
      • ‘Not that they didn't work the odd miracle at the odd club, but for years the glories they traded on were well past.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘What is certain is that if Barwick could work that miracle, merely knighting him would be an insult.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The miracle has been wrought by recognising health as a human right - and therefore the responsibility of the state - and acting accordingly.’
      • ‘And now, when my son Jamie is almost the same age, I realize my father worked a miracle!’
      • ‘Miracles will be wrought, the sick will be healed and signs and wonders will follow the believers.’
      • ‘And God wrought special miracles by the hand of Paul’
      • ‘However, having protested defeat by the venison, Vix worked her usual miracle and found room for a pudding.’
      • ‘It can't be stated enough how everyone should thank them both - they have worked a miracle.’
      • ‘A balanced diet together with a gentle daily or weekly exercise regime can work miracles.’
      • ‘Check out these before and after photos to see how cheaply and easily miracles can be worked.’
      • ‘If ever a country provided its team with all the motivation they needed to work miracles, then this is surely it.’
      • ‘He was pretending, she should have known that getting his attention was like working a miracle.’
      • ‘Sometimes a word of truth works the miracle, but, at times, years of preaching will do nothing.’
      • ‘Anyway, lame puns aside, the cast of Hollyoaks have worked a miracle.’
      • ‘For Hugh, a 22-year-old IT worker, has wrought a minor 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’
      • ‘He was in the forefront for a number of these issues, working for the poor and the needy and homeless.’
      • ‘But just because they are in Canada does not mean they have stopped working for the Burmese people.’
      • ‘The deans and chancellors of these institutions are committed to working for change.’
      • ‘Legendre, an unemployed father of three, occupies all his free time working for the revolution.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘By adding borrowed money to your own funds you can increase the total amount of money working for you.’
      • ‘Others, who have been working for long-term solutions, don't have much to cheer about.’
    3. 3.3informal with object Arrange or contrive.
      ‘the chairman was prepared to work it for Phillip if he was interested’
      • ‘That inactivity puts a greater premium on working a deal with unrestricted free agent James Dexter, its projected starter at left guard.’
      • ‘His editor, Clive Barnaby, wanted someone on the job who was prepared to work the local angles.’
      • ‘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 use one's persuasive power on (someone or their feelings)
      ‘she worked upon the sympathy of her associates’
      • ‘Some occult influence was at work upon me throughout those dark hours, I am positively certain.’
      • ‘Your class gave me the tools to understand the forces at work upon my conscience and to make a reasoned decision.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Even now we are working on Mr Flintoff being a guest upon his return from Down Under.’
      • ‘At this late stage, the elites found themselves forced to work upon the increasingly dysfunctional myths.’
      persuade, manipulate, influence, sway, put pressure on, lean on
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    5. 3.5with object Use one's persuasive power to stir the emotions of (a person or group of people)
      ‘the born politician's art of working a crowd’
      • ‘The man knows how to work the crowd, but the smiley banter between songs keeps it from looking too cynical.’
      • ‘Big ups also go to Leon Wadham and his beautiful cardie, who worked the crowd like a seasoned professional.’
      • ‘Another person who could be seen working the crowd was director Jayaraj.’
      • ‘He worked the crowd brilliantly, and was to keep everyone laughing through what proved a long night.’
      • ‘You don't get to have a decent career in music without knowing how to work a crowd.’
      • ‘His concerns were for war and peace, grand speeches, red carpets and working the crowds.’
      • ‘He is brilliant when he works the crowd with his radio mike.’
      • ‘He hopped about energetically, did the trademark Edwin moves, played congas and really worked the crowd.’
      • ‘It lasted around five hours, with a number of musicians and speakers working a crowd, made up of all ethnic backgrounds.’
      • ‘He's working the crowd, but it's more like he wants to than he has to.’
      • ‘In between speakers, the chairman, introduced only as Jack, works the crowd like an old hand.’
      • ‘Justin is a fantastic front man who definitely knows how to work a crowd.’
      • ‘Not only did he play a good match, at just 18 years of age he was working the crowd like a pro!’
      • ‘He knows how to work a crowd, he gives a good sermon and produces a splendid pulpit sweat.’
      • ‘The Beastie Boys worked the crowd into a frenzy when they ran off to a smaller stage at the venue's opposite end.’
      • ‘Christine Caughey and Richard Simpson turned up to have a peek at our meeting and our working the crowd.’
      • ‘Our bit was well received and Gilz did an excellent job of working the crowd.’
      • ‘Still, one had to marvel again at the man's enthusiasm for working a crowd, even someone else's.’
      • ‘Just before battle commenced, some of the warriors worked the crowd to get them in the mood.’
      • ‘Clad in gladrags and working the crowds Al Gore made a democratic appearance.’
      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, or some other method.

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

    with object ‘comb from tip to root, working out the knots at the end’
    no object ‘its bases were already working loose’
    • ‘No matter how tightly I tie the things they work loose after about twenty steps.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Several of my toes commenced to blacken and fester near the tips and the nails worked loose.’
    • ‘Our advice is to secure it very firmly, be conservative with your speed and make frequent stops to ensure it isn't working loose.’
    manoeuvre, manipulate, negotiate, guide, edge
    manoeuvre, make, thread, wind, weave
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    1. 5.1 (of a person's features) move violently or convulsively.
      ‘hair wild, mouth working furiously’
      • ‘Her mouth was working silently, trying to form words but unable to receive any from her brain.’
      • ‘Her mouth worked furiously trying to come up some excuse for her outburst.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Sekher lay sprawled upon his back, twitching spasmodically, mouth working silently.’
      • ‘Mike was glaring at Richard, his eyes dark, a muscle in his cheek 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.’
      • ‘Tothas stared at him, mouth working with fear for his mistress, then nodded sharply.’
      • ‘The muscles in his jaw were working furiously as he clenched and unclenched his fingers.’
      twitch, quiver, twist, move spasmodically, convulse
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    2. 5.2 (of joints, such as those in a wooden ship) loosen and flex under repeated stress.
    3. 5.3Sailing 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.’
  • 6Bring into a specified state, especially an emotional state.

    ‘Harold had worked himself into a minor rage’
    • ‘Finally I had worked myself into a state of hysterics so much so that I could not breathe.’
    • ‘Kenneth inwardly winced, but she said nothing, just fluttered about, working herself into a proper fury until Jeremy left.’
    • ‘I agree with Mr. Jenkins, I think you can work yourself into a state of real paranoia here if you're not careful.’
    • ‘Everybody's working themselves into a lather over one mad cow, and it's bloody ridiculous.’
    • ‘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.’
    stir, stir up, excite, drive, move, spur, rouse, fire, galvanize
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