Idioms and Expressions That Use "Work"

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The following idioms and expressions use the noun / verb 'work'. Each idiom or expression has a definition and two example sentences to help your understanding of these common idiomatic expressions with 'work'.

English Idioms and Expressions

All in a day's work

Definition: nothing special, part of the routine

  • Don't worry about it. It's all in a day's work.
  • Cooking is all in a day's work.

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

Definition: Idiom meaning that you need to have fun in order to be a happy, healthy person

  • Go home! Remember: All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
  • I'm worried about him. He hasn't yet understood that all work and no play makes jack a dull boy.

Dirty work

Definition: Necessary, but uninteresting, or difficult work

  • He did the dirty work on that project.
  • Have you got around to doing the dirty work yet?

Get down to work

Definition: Stop relaxing, focus on important task

  • Hey, let's get down to work here!
  • Sorry, I've got to get off the phone and get down to work.

Get worked up over something

Definition: become angry or annoyed about something

  • He got all worked up over the last exam.
  • Don't get worked up over the garden. I'll take care of it tomorrow.

Make short work of something

Definition: do something quickly

  • I made short work of the assignment and moved on to the next job.
  • Give it to John. He'll make short work of it.

Work like a horse

Definition: work a lot, work very hard

  • Janet works like a horse!
  • Why don't you ask Tom. He works like a horse.

Work out for the best

Definition: eventually finish well

  • Don't worry about your problems. Everything will work out for the best.
  • The divorce worked out for the best for the whole family.

Work something off

Definition: lose weight

  • I'm going running to work dinner off.
  • She went to the gym to work off a few pounds.

Throw a monkey wrench in the works

Definition: cause a disturbance in something that seems clear and understandable

  • I hate to throw a monkey wrench in the works, but don't you think we should ask Andy to help.
  • Everything was set to go when Jack threw a monkey wrench in the works!
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Your Citation
Beare, Kenneth. "Idioms and Expressions That Use "Work"." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, Beare, Kenneth. (2020, August 27). Idioms and Expressions That Use "Work". Retrieved from Beare, Kenneth. "Idioms and Expressions That Use "Work"." ThoughtCo. (accessed December 8, 2022).