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1. The entirety of what's available; all the related elements of something. Wow, they really offer the works at this ice cream bar. There's much more than just whipped cream and sprinkles here! I want a traditional wedding, with the cake, the dress—the works.
2. slang A very thorough or severe beating. When John refused to pay protection money to the mafia, two of their goons took him outside and gave him the works.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
work(one's way) into something
1. . to get into something tight or small gradually and with effort. He worked himself into the dark corner and hid there for a while. The mouse worked into the crack and got stuck.
2. . to get more deeply involved in something gradually. I don't quite understand my job. I'll work my way into it gradually. Fred worked into the daily routine gradually.
work(one's way) through something
1. . Lit. to work to earn money to pay the bills while one is in college, medical school, law school, etc. I worked my way through college as a waiter.
2. . Fig. to progress through something complicated. I spent hours working my way through the tax forms. I worked through the forms very slowly.
3. . Fig. to struggle through an emotional trauma. When she had finally worked through her grief, she was able to function normally again. Larry worked through the pain.
a lot of something; everything possible. (The works can be a lot of food, good treatment, bad treatment, etc. *Typically: get ~; have ~; give someone ~.) Bill: Shall we order a snack or a big meal? Jane: I'm hungry. Let's get the works. But, your honor. I shouldn't get the works. I only drove too fast!
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
1. Everything, the full range of possibilities, as in He ordered a pizza with the works, or All right, tell me, give me the works on it. This usage derives from works in the sense of "a complete set of parts for a machine or mechanism." [Colloquial; late 1800s]
2. A beating or other severe treatment. This usage is often put as give someone the works, as in They took him outside and gave him the works. [Slang; first half of 1900s]
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.
the whole works
You say the works or the whole works to mean all the things that would normally be included in a particular situation. Our agents are watching all exits from New York City — airports, train stations, bus stations, tunnels, bridges, the works. Amazing place he's got there — squash courts, swimming pool, jacuzzi, the whole works.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
the (whole) ˈworks(informal) everything that you could want, need or expect: We went to the chip shop and had the works: fish, chips and mushy peas.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
n. the entire amount; everything. I’d like my hamburger with onions, pickles, ketchup, mustard—the works. She’s getting the works at the beauty shop—cut, wash, dye, and set.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.