put/set somebody to work

set someone or something to work

to start someone or something working; to cause someone or something to begin functioning. The captain set everyone to work repairing the tears in the fabric of the sails. We will set the machines to work at the regular time.
See also: set, work

set to work (on someone or something)

to begin working on someone or something. We have finished questioning Tom, so we will set to work on Fred. We set to work on dinner at noon.
See also: set, work

put/set somebody to ˈwork (on something)

make somebody start work (doing something): On his first day in the office they put him to work on some typing.
See also: put, set, somebody, work