work to

work to (something)

1. To follow a particular schedule, plan, or procedure while working. It's important that we all work to the same guidelines, or else it won't all fit together right at the end. I work to a strict time schedule when I work from home.
2. To listen to a particular band or type of music while working. I've been working to heavy metal lately to keep me motivated throughout the day. I like to work to Bruce Springsteen when I'm painting.
3. To expend time, effort, and energy to cause something to reach a particular state. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is used between "work" and "to." We're trying to work the prototype to a playable demo before the big video game expo next month. The bill doesn't have a chance as it is currently, but I think I can work it to something that might pass through both houses of congress.
4. To instill a particular mental state in someone by provoking or agitating them. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is used between "work" and "to." I was worked to a panic when my kids didn't answer my phone calls. The organizer whipped the mob to a violent frenzy, leading to a riot breaking out along Main Street.
See also: to, work
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

work someone or something to someone or something

to struggle to manipulate someone or something to someone or something. The quarterback worked the ball to the fullback so that the opposition didn't know what was going on. The rescuers worked the trapped child to the top of the tunnel.
See also: to, work
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

work to

1. To follow some plan or schedule: They worked to a timetable.
2. To cause something or someone to reach some level through repeated, continuous, or applied effort: The rock singer worked the audience to a frenzy.
3. To reach some level through repeated, continuous, or applied effort: The baseball team worked to a three-run lead.
See also: to, work
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.
See also:
References in classic literature ?
And when we had eaten, all the food stored in the houses we stopped fighting and went back to work to pile up more food."
In the very heat of the day the mowing did not seem such hard work to him.
Levin walked after him and often thought he must fall, as he climbed with a scythe up a steep cliff where it would have been hard work to clamber without anything.
The dancers don't earn much, so some have to take on extra work to sustain themselves.
Conversely, staff meetings taking people away from their work to talk about how much progress they have made are not a good use of time.
By becoming involved with MoCA's in-service training, social work educators may be able to export their concept of what constitutes professional social work to MoCA's staff.
Morris has lived to regret moments when he allowed work to take precedence over pressing family matters.
Yet with the exception of a major essay by Rosalind Krauss published in the catalogue to a 1992 retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the most comprehensive presentation of Martin's work to date, there is virtually no significant writing on her from any theoretical perspective.
There has been a continuity in the expectation of paid work for men, with the result being that women have tended to experience more guilt, stress, and conflict by virtue of choosing to add work to their family responsibilities.
His caseworker educated Don's work supervisor about Don's medication and negotiated accommodations at the lab, which permitted Don to leave work to attend his support group meetings at the hospital.
They must also have their own architect or engineer check the work to see that what is shown in the drawings is what is being built.
But still it is very important for people considering work to meet with some kind of benefits counselor or advisor, so that they understand the particularities of their situation, and the impact of work on benefits.
"Why do we have to pick the work to pieces?" "Why do we have to dissect it?" And, as usual, I joined my colleagues in banishing these complaints to the darker corners of our classrooms by asserting, with an undeviating persistence, those traditional answers that we, in turn, had received as students from our teachers.
The labor movement has a lot of work to do to overcome the isolation of female workers and build solidarity.
Meldrum holds that "a monolithic transition from household work to factory work at some point in the late 18th or early 19th century" is a widely-held but flawed notion.