do the spadework

(redirected from spadework)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.

do the spadework

To do the necessary preparatory work or research to successfully complete a given task or objective. Likened to working the soil with a spade when preparing to plant something. If you are looking to start your own business, you have to be sure to do the spadework first. I was up all night doing the spadework for my first case as a lawyer.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

do the spadework

Make the preliminary preparations or do the preliminary research for something. For example, The department head did all the spadework for this agreement. This expression transfers the heavy spading required to prepare for planting to other kinds of preparation. [c. 1900]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
See also:
References in periodicals archive ?
They are undertaking the bog spadework with National Park staff
This procedure makes no sense; we have lots of spadework to do first....
Smith, who played for Wolves and QPR earlier in his career, gave the home side a well-deserved lead after 15 minutes following excellent spadework from Ryan Edwards.
A Cull penalty preceded a burst of speed and try from centre Jason Harries after flanker Haydn Pugh and Cull had done the spadework.
Even the spadework, like ballot paper design and contacts with several companies, had also been done, the IEC official concluded.
He said: "There are still plenty of cranes across the Coventry skyline and the local authority and its regional partners are continuing to put in the spadework for sites and infrastructure to enable business to deliver future growth.
Harrad did the spadework, Gilroy provided a pinpoint cross and Simpson finished emphatically with a header from eight yards.
Anderson finally bagged the goal the visitors deserved with a tap-in after Stuart McKay had done the spadework with a superb run and cutback.
negotiator on North Korea, will leave Washington for China on Sunday to do the spadework for the six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear program, a State Department spokesman said Wednesday.
The Lebanese delegation submitted a draft neighbourhood policy action plan to the Commissioner and talks between the EU and Lebanon are scheduled for October to do the spadework for negotiations proper.
For this volume, then, the editors have done enormous philological spadework, and they present their results in a clear, careful manner.
We did our role, we did the spadework and now someone else can do the bricks and mortar and take it from here."
Yet careful last-minute spadework indicated that rather than four knowledgeable sources, what they actually had were, in Kalb's words, "four different people who seemed either to be echoing the Judd report [from ABC News] without any independent confirmation of their own or conveying and then embellishing a rumor they had heard about an agent `stumbling' upon the president with a young woman."
She has done all of the hard spadework that so many are unwilling to tackle these days.