Definition of workhorse in US English:



  • 1A horse used for work on a farm.

    • ‘They tend to be more workhorses than show horses.’
    • ‘They are workhorses and the one I chose is both affordable and powerful.’
    • ‘Edmund kept two horses for himself, but the rest were workhorses for the land or pulling carriages.’
    • ‘After 26 years of horse power, we sold our six workhorses (yes, we were guilty of ‘get bigger or get out’), completing our switch to using hand power.’
    • ‘We experimented with teams of Percheron and Belgian workhorses.’
    • ‘As machinery began to overtake the use of workhorses, the Black Forest horse became endangered.’
    1. 1.1 A person or machine that dependably performs hard work over a long period of time.
      ‘he was a workhorse of an actor, often appearing in as many as forty plays in a year’
      • ‘Gradually he made a name for himself as (so he put it) a workhorse and not a show horse; his fellow senators came to admire him.’
      • ‘Communications satellites have become the workhorses in this area due to their effectiveness and efficiency.’
      • ‘Both players mix OK strikeout numbers with good groundball rates, and both are workhorses with solid control.’
      • ‘Galvanometers are the workhorses behind many laser-based, materials-processing applications such as ablating, cutting, drilling, marking, and welding.’
      • ‘He's a workhorse on a team that plays hard defensively, but provides little cushion offensively.’
      • ‘Chunky, practical and uninspiring, it used to be nothing more than a dependable workhorse.’
      • ‘Coming from Land Rover, which had made its name in producing rugged off-road workhorses used by farmers, the military and police the world over, the new model aimed to continue the tradition.’
      • ‘Motors and drives - the workhorses of many dairy plants - can play an important role in lowering kilowatt hours.’
      • ‘They're sort of workhorses of the airline industry.’
      • ‘Thundering across fields remains the preserve of a small band of well-built, farm-ready workhorses with indestructible axles.’
      • ‘And it wasn't made any easier by the fact that the genius works like a horse and that the workhorse made himself into a genius during the season.’
      • ‘He's also near the top of the offensive rebounding charts and is among the NBA's biggest workhorses in terms of minutes played.’
      • ‘‘They've been the workhorses of the industry and are absolutely our best friends,’ the microbiologist says.’
      • ‘If jazzy products and packages are the show horses, a dairy's filling process can be considered the workhorse of an operation.’
      • ‘Lloyd was a workhorse out of the Blue Jays' bullpen in 1999, and that may have been one of the factors that led to his shoulder surgery in 2000.’
      • ‘Sure, you've got tanks and jeeps, but the real workhorses of this war are helicopters and PBR patrol boats.’
      • ‘Transistors are best known as the workhorses of the computing world; a computer's microprocessor chip contains millions of these tiny, voltage-controlled switches.’
      • ‘The Hercules aircraft used by the RAAF are slow by modern standards, but the big four prop engine planes are reliable workhorses used, of course, the world over.’
      • ‘Common diode lasers - the type used in laser pointers and grocery-store scanners - are cheap laboratory workhorses for colors ranging from orange to infrared.’
      • ‘Despite all this, the truck, a workhorse used by farmers and builders throughout the world, still managed to drive into the Top Gear studio after only relatively minor repairs.’
      hard worker, toiler, stakhanovite, galley slave
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