Work v. i. [imp. & p. p. Worked or Wrought p. pr. & vb. n. Working.]
1. To exert one's self for a purpose; to put forth effort for the attainment of an object; to labor; to be engaged in the performance of a task, a duty, or the like.
O thou good Kent, how shall I live and work,
To match thy goodness? --Shak.
Go therefore now, and work; for there shall no straw be given you. --Ex. v. 18.
Whether we work or play, or sleep or wake,
Our life doth pass. --Sir J. Davies.
2. Hence, in a general sense, to operate; to act; to perform; as, a machine works well.
We bend to that the working of the heart. --Shak.
3. Hence, figuratively, to be effective; to have effect or influence; to conduce.
We know that all things work together for good to them that love God. --Rom. viii. 28.
This so wrought upon the child, that afterwards he desired to be taught. --Locke.
She marveled how she could ever have been wrought upon to marry him. --Hawthorne.
4. To carry on business; to be engaged or employed customarily; to perform the part of a laborer; to labor; to toil.
They that work in fine flax . . . shall be confounded. --Isa. xix. 9.
5. To be in a state of severe exertion, or as if in such a state; to be tossed or agitated; to move heavily; to strain; to labor; as, a ship works in a heavy sea.
Confused with working sands and rolling waves. --Addison.
6. To make one's way slowly and with difficulty; to move or penetrate laboriously; to proceed with effort; -- with a following preposition, as down, out, into, up, through, and the like; as, scheme works out by degrees; to work into the earth.
Till body up to spirit work, in bounds
Proportioned to each kind. --Milton.
7. To ferment, as a liquid.
The working of beer when the barm is put in. --Bacon.
8. To act or operate on the stomach and bowels, as a cathartic.
Purges . . . work best, that is, cause the blood so to do, . . . in warm weather or in a warm room. --Grew.
To work at, to be engaged in or upon; to be employed in.
To work to windward Naut., to sail or ply against the wind; to tack to windward.