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1. verb To exercise, either in general or by targeting a specific part of the body. I work out in the mornings now before work, and I find that it really makes me have more energy during the day. I've been working out my biceps primarily.
2. verb To have a favorable or acceptable outcome. Used especially of situations in which an unfavorable outcome is expected. This will all work out, you'll see. I'm certain it's a blessing in disguise. I forgot my phone that night, but it worked out for the better, because the woman whose phone I borrowed became my wife.
3. verb To work to resolve something or reach an agreement, solution, or favorable or acceptable outcome. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "work" and "out." I really hope Ron and Jenny can work out their issues. I can't imagine them apart. If our staff can't work out this problem, we're going to have to hire a consultant. I'm sure Gene will be able to work this situation out—I've seen him do it a hundred times before.
4. verb To develop or refine something, such as a plan, strategy, etc. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "work" and "out." We still need to work out the details, but we'll definitely be able to come visit that weekend. If you don't work out a budget before you start a business, you're in for trouble. A: "Do you have a plan yet?" B: "No, we're going to work it out as we go."
5. verb To have a specific result. I never planned to become a lawyer, that's just how it worked out.
6. verb To amount to a specific total. After all the taxes and fees, your bill works out to $350.
7. verb To eliminate or remove something from something else through strenuous and/or repeated effort. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "work" and "out." I've been trying to work out these wrinkles, but they're relentless. I thought I was working this stain out of the carpet, but I think I just rubbed it in more.
8. verb To eliminate or arrange for the removal of a debt, often through working instead of paying. After I broke Mr. Wilson's window, he said I could work out what I owed him by washing his car. Beware of anyone offering to work out your debt through some kind of arrangement.
9. verb To exhaust a resource, especially that which is extracted from a mine. That coal mine was worked out in the '70s, and a lot of people lost their jobs after that.
10. noun An exercise session. As a noun, the phrase is spelled as one word. Ping pong is a great workout. You can really work up a sweat! I'm hoping to sneak in a workout after work today.
11. noun By extension, a strenuous task or activity. As a noun, the phrase is spelled as one word. Unpacking those boxes was a workout. I need to go sit down.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
work something out (with someone)
to come to an agreement with someone; to figure out with someone a way to do something. I think we can work this out with you so that all of us are satisfied. I will work out something with Karen. I'm sure we can work it out.
work out (somehow)
to result in a good conclusion; to finish positively. Don't worry. I am sure that everything will work out all right. Things always work out in the end.
work out(at something)
1. . [for someone] to perform satisfactorily doing something in particular. I hope I work out at my new job. I'm sure you'll work out.
2. . to perform satisfactorily working in a particular location. I hope I work out at the factory. I really need that job. Things will work out at home in time.
1. [for something] to turn out all right in the end. (See also turn out (all right); work out (as something).) Don't worry. Everything will work out. This will work out. Don't worry.
2. . [for someone] to do a program of exercise. I work out at least twice a week. I need to work out more often.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
1. Accomplish by work or effort, as in I think we can work out a solution to this problem. [1500s] For work out all right, see turn out all right.
2. Find a solution for, solve, as in They hoped to work out their personal differences, or Can you help me work out this equation? [Mid-1800s]
3. Formulate or develop, as in We were told to work out a new plan, or He's very good at working out complicated plots. [Early 1800s]
4. Discharge a debt by working instead of paying money, as in She promised she'd work out the rest of the rent by baby-sitting for them. [Second half of 1600s]
5. Prove effective or successful, as in I wonder if their marriage will work out.
6. Have a specific result, add up, as in It worked out that she was able to go to the party after all, or The total works out to more than a million. [Late 1800s]
7. Engage in strenuous exercise for physical conditioning, as in He works out with weights every other day. [1920s]
8. Exhaust a resource, such as a mine, as in This mine has been completely worked out. [Mid-1500s]
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.
1. To remove or eliminate something from something by repeated, continuous, or applied effort: We tried for hours to work the stain out of the shirt. No matter how hard we tried, we couldn't work the knot out of the rope. I worked out the tangles with a comb.
2. To solve or resolve something by work or effort: The mathematician worked out the answer over several days. We have our disagreements, but we always work them out.
3. To formulate or develop something: The lawyers worked out a strategy for the trial. We have no plans yet; we still need to work them out.
4. To discharge or arrange to discharge some obligation or debt: I worked out my high phone bill with the creditors.
5. To prove successful, effective, or satisfactory: The new strategy may not work out.
6. To have some specified result: The ratio works out to an odd number. It worked out that everyone left on the same train.
7. To engage in strenuous exercise for physical conditioning: You look very trim and fit; have you been working out? I work out at the gym twice a week.
8. To subject some part of the body to exertion for physical conditioning: Sit-ups work out the abdominal muscles.
9. To exhaust or deplete something. Used chiefly in the passive: After a hundred years in operation, the mine was worked out.
10. work out of To have some place as a central office or work location: I work out of my house.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.