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work someone or something over
to give someone or something a thorough examination or treatment. The doctor really worked me over but couldn't find anything wrong. They worked over the patient but found nothing.
work someone over
1. to threaten, intimidate, or beat someone. Walt threatened to work Sam over. Max had worked over Sam, and Sam knew that this was no idle threat.
2. . to give someone's body a thorough examination or treatment. The doctors worked her over to the tune of $1,500, but couldn't find anything wrong with her. The dermatologist worked over her entire body looking for moles.
work something over
to rework something. He saved the play by working the second act over. Would you work over this report and see if you can improve it?
Beat up, as in The secret police worked him over and he's never been the same. [c. 1920]
1. To do something for a second time; rework something: The studio requested that we work the film over and give it a happy ending.
2. To dominate one's opponent in a contest, conflict, or competition: Our team really worked their team over in the final game of the season. We need to get more defensive, or they'll work us over.
3. To criticize, scold, or ridicule someone harshly: The sergeant will work you over if you don't stand at attention.
4. Slang To inflict severe physical damage on someone or something; beat up someone or something: If you don't do what the gang leader tells you to do, he'll work you over.