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From drudge (person who works in a low servile job) +‎ -ery (suffix meaning ‘the art, craft, or practice of’ forming nouns).[1]



drudgery (countable and uncountable, plural drudgeries)

  1. Exhausting, menial, and tedious work.
    Synonyms: chore, dogsbody work, (military) fatigue, (archaic) swink, toil; see also Thesaurus:drudgery
    • 1580, Thomas Tusser, “A Comparison betweene Champion Countrie and Seuerall”, in Fiue Hundred Pointes of Good Husbandrie: [], London: [] Henrie Denham [beeing the assigne of William Seres] [], OCLC 837741850; republished as W[illiam] Payne and Sidney J[ohn Hervon] Herrtage, editors, Five Hundred Pointes of Good Husbandrie. [], London: Published for the English Dialect Society by Trübner & Co., [], 1878, OCLC 7391867535, stanza 4, page 141:
      What laier much better then there, / or cheaper (thereon to doo well?) / What drudgerie more any where / lesse good thereof where can ye tell? / What gotten by Sommer is seene: / in Winter is eaten vp cleene.
    • 1594, Christopher Marlowe; Thomas Nash[e], The Tragedie of Dido Queene of Carthage: [], London: [] Widdowe Orwin, for Thomas Woodcocke, [], OCLC 1203323776; reprinted as Dido, Queen of Carthage (Tudor Facsimile Texts; 72), Old English Drama Students’ Facsimile edition, [Amersham, Buckinghamshire: [] [E]ditor of the Tudor Facsimile Texts (i.e., John S. Farmer)], 1914, OCLC 897399266, Act IV:
      I may not dure this female drudgerie, / To ſea Æneas, finde out Italy.
    • c. 1596–1599, William Shakespeare, The Second Part of Henrie the Fourth, [], quarto edition, London: [] V[alentine] S[immes] for Andrew Wise, and William Aspley, published 1600, OCLC 55178895, [Act III, scene ii]:
      I was prickt wel enough before, and you could haue let me alone, my old dame will be vndone now for one to doe her husbandrie, and her drudgery, you need not to haue prickt me, there are other men fitter to go out then I.
    • 1652, “A Short Advertisement to the Reader”, in Eugenius Philalethes [i.e., Thomas Vaughan], transl., The Fame and Confession of the Fraternity of the R: C: Commonly, of the Rosie Cross. [], London: [] J[ohn] M[acock] for Giles Calvert, [], OCLC 1203212853, page 58:
      Here he met with a Drudgerie almoſt invincible, and if we add the Task to the Time, it is enough to make a Man old.
    • 1741, [Edward Young], “Night the Seventh. Being the Second Part of The Infidel Reclaimed. Containing the Nature, Proof, and Importance, of Immortality.”, in The Complaint. Or, Night-Thoughts on Life, Death, and Immortality, London: [] G. Hawkins, [], OCLC 557359202, page 60:
      In the coarſe Drudgeries, and Sinks of Senſe, / Your Souls have quite worn out the Make of Heav'n, / By Vice new-caſt, and Creatures of your own: []
    • 1748, [David Hume], “Essay V. Sceptical Solution of These Doubts.”, in Philosophical Essays Concerning Human Understanding, London: [] A[ndrew] Millar, [], OCLC 642589706, part I, pages 69–70:
      While we ſtudy with Attention the Vanity of human Life, and turn all our Thoughts on the empty and tranſitory Nature of Riches and Honours, we are, perhaps, all the while flattering our natural Indolence, which, hating the Buſtle of the World, and Drudgery of Buſineſs, ſeeks a Pretext of Reaſon, to give itſelf a full and uncontroul'd Indulgence.
    • 1842 December – 1844 July, Charles Dickens, “Martin Enlarges His Circle of Acquaintance; []”, in The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit, London: Chapman and Hall, [], published 1844, OCLC 977517776, page 222:
      [] Mr. Bevan informed him that domestic drudgery was far beneath the exalted range of these Philosophers, and that the chances were a hundred to one that neither of the three could perform the easiest woman's work for herself, or make the simplest article of dress for any of her children.
    • 1889, H[enry] Clay Trumbull, “Making Drudgery Divine”, in Duty-knowing and Duty-doing, Philadelphia, Pa.: John D. Wattles, OCLC 15226177, page 133:
      A large part of duty-doing is drudgery. There is drudgery in every department of life's work–drudgery that is indispensable to success in that work. [] But there is such a thing as ennobling drudgery, as making and counting it an essential part of that which is noble and–in a sense–divine.
    • 1972, Bruce Catton, “Interlude with Music”, in Waiting for the Morning Train: An American Boyhood (Great Lakes Books), Detroit, Mich.: Wayne State University Press, published 1987, →ISBN, pages 151–152:
      I felt that I was really growing up—my thirteenth birthday lay just ahead—and classroom work suddenly took on a new aspect. It was no longer just one of the unavoidable drudgeries of boyhood: it was a time of preparation, and I felt obliged to consider what i was going to do with my life.
    • 1992, Amina Wadud, “Conclusion”, in Qur’an and Woman: Rereading the Sacred Text from a Woman’s Perspective, New York N.Y.; Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, published 1999, →ISBN, page 104:
      Thus, mutually decided matters of contribution can be arranged within families to affect the ultimate benefits in family and society. Not all drudgery should be arbitrarily attributed to women, nor all social, political, and economic recognition be attributed to men.
    • 2007, Kalyan Annamalai; Ishwar K. Puri, “Introduction and Review of Thermodynamics”, in Combustion Science and Engineering (CRC Series in Computational Mechanics and Applied Analysis), Boca Raton, Fla.: CRC Press, →ISBN, section 1.1 (Introduction), page 1:
      Engines that use fire have been sources of power and propulsion only in the past several centuries, and have succeeded in liberating humankind from drudgery.
    • 2018 December 12, Charles Bramesco, “A Spoonful of Nostalgia Helps the Calculated Mary Poppins Returns Go Down”, in The A.V. Club[1], archived from the original on 24 May 2019:
      She does the same thing as any parent worth their salt, and gets rambunctious youngsters engaged in daily drudgeries by refashioning the quotidian as adventure.

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  1. ^ drudgery, n.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, 1897; “drudgery, n.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–present.

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