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work nights

To work in the evenings, as opposed to during the day. I used to work nights, but it took such a toll on my sleeping that I switched back to the day shift.
See also: nights, work

work (one's) butt off

To work really hard (on or at something). I know you thought it was just a silly New Year's resolution, but I've been working my butt off at the gym! Sally and Jim work their butts off when we hold our user conference—I don't know what I'd do without them!
See also: butt, off, work

work (one's) magic

To use one's unique talents or charm to obtain a desired thing or outcome. I never thought the boss would approve our business trip, but Sam worked her magic, and now, we're off to Denver! Whenever I can't get my car running, I have my dad come over and work his magic on the engine.
See also: magic, work

work the crowd

To excite or entertain an audience. Man, that singer sure knows how to work a crowd! They're going wild for him! The keynote speaker was late, so I had to work the crowd for a while to stall.
See also: crowd, work

work the room

To interact with many people at an event or function. Often, but not always, applied to business situations. At networking events, Ben totally works the room, with the goal of meeting as many people as he possibly can. At parties, my dad always works the room and chats with everyone, but I'm too shy for that.
See also: room, work

work (one's) way through

To stay engaged in a task continuously. Often used when the task is long-term or plodding. Kate is working her way through college, but it's taken a while, as she's only been able to attend classes part-time. I have to work my way through any book I start, even if I don't like it very much.
See also: through, way, work

working girl

A prostitute. The vice squad always patrols this area, looking to arrest any working girls on the street.
See also: girl, working

in working order

Of a machine, functional; not broken. I just picked up my car from the shop, and it's in working order again, thank goodness!
See also: order, working

work the oracle

To manipulate something for one's personal gain (often financially). Primarily heard in UK. In order to win that much money gambling, he must have worked the oracle.
See also: work

work up to the collar

To work hard; to exert oneself. This now-outdated phrase refers to the collar on a beast of burden. I ended up doing most of the project myself because I didn't trust my partner to work up to the collar—he's lazy.
See also: collar, up, work

a working over

A harsh reprimand, often one that lasts a lengthy amount of time. She gave her teenage daughter a good working over for breaking curfew. I got a good working over from the professor after I submitted my project late.
See also: working

*a (good) working over

a good scolding. (*Typically: get ~ have ~ give someone ∼.) The boss gave me a good working over before firing me. She got a working over about her performance on the project.
See also: working

hard at (something)

 and hard at doing something
working hard at something. Tom's busy. He's hard at work on the lawn.
See also: hard

working stiff

Fig. someone who works, especially in a nonmanagement position. (Originally and typically referring to males.) But does the working stiff really care about all this economic stuff? All the working stiffs want is a raise.
See also: stiff, working

give someone a (good) working over

tv. to scold or beat someone. The boss gave me a good working over before firing me.
See also: give, good, working

give someone a working over

See also: give, working

plumber’s smile

and working man’s smile
n. the upper part of the gluteal cleft (crack sense 1) visible above the beltline of a man, bent over at work. I came into the kitchen and was greeted by a plumber’s smile owned by some guy working under the sink. She referred to the overexposure of his rear end over his belt as the “working man’s smile.”
See also: smile

working man’s smile

See also: smile, working

working stiff

n. a working man; a man who must work to live. (see also stiff.) But does the working stiff really care about all this economic stuff?
See also: stiff, working

working stiff

A hardworking employee. First heard in the 1930s, this phrase describes your average guy or gal who works at a not-very-interesting- or-stimulating job and for wages that mean a paycheck-to-paycheck existence. “Stiff ” might have come from muscle fatigues at the end of the day or week, but it's just as likely to be the slang word for “corpse,” which would reflect the idea of a working stiff in a dead-end job.
See also: stiff, working
References in classic literature ?
Holding my breath and working with my hands, I managed to get off my heavy sea-boots and my jacket.
They put it all in their own pockets, and there came no threads on the loom, but they went on as they had done before, working at the empty loom.
Maybe there was a murmur in the village streets, a novel and dominant topic in the public-houses, and here and there a messenger, or even an eye-witness of the later occurrences, caused a whirl of excitement, a shouting, and a running to and fro; but for the most part the daily routine of working, eating, drinking, sleeping, went on as it had done for count- less years--as though no planet Mars existed in the sky.
Should your grandmother occupy more of your time than common, on any occasion, you can make it up of yourself, by working a little earlier, or a little later; or, once in a while, you can throw in a day, to make up for lost time.
Why, they are the deadheads, the drones in the great hive, the street crowds that lounge about, gaping at those who are working.
By the expression of her father's face, not sad, not crushed, but angry and working unnaturally, she saw that hanging over her and about to crush her was some terrible misfortune, the worst in life, one she had not yet experienced, irreparable and incomprehensible- the death of one she loved.
So Tip's guardian, however much she might aspire to working magic, realized it was unlawful to be more than a Sorceress, or at most a Wizardess.
Foolishly, in the past, he had conceived that all well-groomed persons above the working class were persons with power of intellect and vigor of beauty.
South of the Slot were the factories, slums, laundries, machine-shops, boiler works, and the abodes of the working class.
And here," said the Ingenious Patriot, pulling another paper from another pocket, "are the working plans of a gun that I have invented, which will pierce that armour.
Instead, and along with the rest, they were scattered on board sailing ships bound for the four quarters of the globe, where they had been placed by the boarding-house masters, and where they were working out advance money which they had neither seen nor spent.
Immediately I classified him--a sort of prodigy, I thought, a Blind Tom** of the working class.
Oh, I don't know--but I love my garden, and I love working in it.
It has been remarked that a skilful workman, with fitting tools and measures, would find it very difficult to make cells of wax of the true form, though this is perfectly effected by a crowd of bees working in a dark hive.
Konstantin Levin regarded his brother as a man of immense intellect and culture, as generous in the highest sense of the word, and possessed of a special faculty for working for the public good.