work on

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work (up)on something

1. . to repair or tinker with something. (Upon is formal and less commonly used than on.) He's out in the kitchen, working upon his tax forms. He's working on his car.
2. . [for something] to have the desired effect on something. (Upon is formal and less commonly used than on.) This medicine should work well upon your cold. I hope it will work on your cold.
See also: on, work

work on someone

1. . Lit. [for a physician] to treat someone; [for a surgeon] to operate on someone. The doctor is still working on your uncle. There is no news yet. They are still working on the accident victims.
2. . Fig. [for someone] to try to convince someone of something. I'll work on her, and I am sure she will agree. They worked on Max for quite a while, but he still didn't agree to testify.
3. Fig. [for something, such as medication] to have the desired effect on someone. This medicine just doesn't work on me. Your good advice doesn't seem to work on Sam.
See also: on, work

work on something

to repair, build, or adjust something. The carpenter worked on the fence for three hours. Bill is out working on his car engine.
See also: on, work

work on

Also, work upon. Exercise influence on, as in If you work on him, he might change his mind, or She always worked upon their feelings by pretending to be more ill than she really was . [Early 1600s]
See also: on, work

work on

1. To exert oneself physically or mentally in order to do, make, or accomplish something: The author is working on a new set of short stories.
2. To practice something in order to acquire or polish a skill: You need to work on your handwriting.
3. To effect a desired result on something: The medicine works on coughs. This joke never fails to work on him.
4. To exert an influence on someone: Her friends worked on her to join the group.
See also: on, work
References in periodicals archive ?
In the first-year composition courses I teach, I require numerous papers of different modes and varying lengths, but I also ask students to read one novel during the semester, a work upon which I base one long paper and several smaller projects.
This buddy helps the expectant staff member transition from work to home and then back to work upon expiration of the leave.
any event, rubber products are not expected to work upon assembly (inspection and evaluation at the factory level), but over a specified life.
In Vision and Rhetoric in Shakespeare, Alison Thorne argues that, in Shakespeare's plays, "language has the capacity to function as a rhetorical equivalent or analogue of perspective [and] can be manipulated to achieve similar effects or work upon an audience in similar ways" (xiv).
Apparently, a sizeable modicum of success based on hard work, merit and team work upon the most slimmest of resources does not, in Newbon's view, carry any weight or importance.
It is Christian's desire to do youth counseling and community service work upon his release.
He had continued parish work upon his return to Canada, but in 1983 was appointed executive secretary of the diocese of Qu'Appelle, a job that involved administration and work with volunteer committees.
The American Dance Festival recently conferred Doris Duke Awards for new work upon modern dance choreographers Trisha Brown, Mark Morris, Mark Dendy, Doug Varone, Ann Carlson, and Jane Comfort.
Behind him on the wall is his untitled work upon which Fish Brewing Co.
We want the guys to feel good going into the off-season, give them something to work upon going into spring training next season.
People who want to found their thinking and their work upon the landscape must tell themselves over and over again: There is no law requiring the processors of farm and forest products to be big, let alone global.
Logical positivists failed to see that, without metaphysics to work upon and to refine, science would stagnate.
The strike is officially over for the hourly workers and they will return to work upon notification from management," said Marshall.
But only 16 percent of them were able to find work upon relocating.
Open Competition: Open Tender For The Right To Sign The Contract For Performance Of Work Upon Overhaul Of The Equipment Of The Automatic Fire Alarm In The Premises FGBUK Central House Of Scientists Of The RAS