One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Solve a sum or determine an amount by calculation.
calculate, compute, reckon up, determineView synonyms
- ‘Precise mathematical calculations are worked out and this determines how a person's life is affected.’
- ‘But when you work it out, it amounts to 6 percent.’
- ‘It makes sense to get the taxman to work the figure out.’
- ‘I just did a quiz at the Guardian designed to figure out how much money you should be earning - it works it out by assessing your IQ.’
- ‘All these figures are worked out at the time you first apply for a basic state pension and they will stay that way for five years.’
- 1.1 Solve or find the answer to something.‘I couldn't work out whether it was a band playing or a record’
understand, comprehend, puzzle out, sort out, reason out, make sense of, think out, think through, get to the bottom of, make head or tail of, solve, find an answer to, find an solution to, unravel, untangle, decipher, decode, find the key to, piece togetherView synonyms
- ‘Panych doesn't give us a pat answer, so it's up to the company to work it out.’
- ‘They will demonstrate how the culinary magic of Mangalore could be worked out with three ingredients that create the characteristic taste of Mangalore - fish, rice and coconut.’
- ‘The joke is that the slogan looks Dutch, until you work it out.’
- ‘It baffled him for ages, until he finally worked it out.’
- ‘For those of you who I sent the ‘Freaky site’ email to and who haven't worked it out, here is the answer.’
2Plan or devise something in detail.‘work out a seating plan’
devise, formulate, draw up, put together, develop, prepare, construct, arrange, organize, plan, think up, contrive, concoctView synonyms
- ‘I'd say most of the responses lean toward staying together and working it out, as will mine.’
- ‘But Caron stood his ground until licensing deals were worked out for all the music and at last Seasons 1 & 2 of Moonlighting are available on DVD.’
- ‘He orchestrated a group of 21 senators, led by Abraham, to urge Meissner to delay further implementation of the student-tracking system until the fee system could be worked out.’
- ‘I have a very scientific approach to cooking, and I have a lot of ideas about what flavours would work together, but they often remain hypothetical, and I usually spend half an hour working my dishes out on paper before preparing them.’
- ‘Yes, I have started writing for my second album, and I am so excited about working the arrangements out with my producer and my band.’
3literary Accomplish or attain something with difficulty.‘malicious fates are bent on working out an ill intent’succeed, be successful, work out, turn out well, go as planned, have the desired result, get resultssucceed, be successful, work, work out, turn out well, go as planned, have the desired result, get results, be efficaciousView synonyms
4usually be worked outWork a mine until it is exhausted of minerals.
- ‘This became Europe's most important source of gold until the deposits were worked out by the 1760s.’
- ‘Cornish production supplied most of the needs of Britain and Europe until the mid-19th cent. when many mines were worked out.’
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