work someone over

work over

1. To revise or begin something again in order to improve it. A noun or pronoun can be used between "work" and "over." To be honest, your thesis is such a mess that I would suggest working it over from scratch. Taking my editor's notes onboard, I began working over the first draft of my latest novel.
2. To subject someone to intense verbal or physical assault. A noun or pronoun can be used between "work" and "over." Man, the boss really worked me over for messing up that client's account. The mafia leader sent a couple of goons to work over the witness so that she wouldn't testify in court.
3. To completely best, overpower, or dominate someone or something, as in a conflict. The home team worked over their opponents from the beginning of the game straight through to the end. Many feel that the senator worked the president over in the debate.
See also: over, work

work someone over

1. tv. to threaten, intimidate, or beat someone. Bruno had worked over Terry, and Sam knew that this was no idle threat.
2. tv. to give someone’s body a thorough examination or treatment. The doctors worked her over to the tune of $1,500 but couldn’t find anything wrong with her.
See also: over, someone, work