- Work done by digging with a spade.
- (figuratively) Work done in preparation for something else.
- There's a lot of spadework to be done before the scheme can be implemented.
1960, P. G. Wodehouse, Jeeves in the Offing, chapter VIII:
- Removing a portion of chair which had got entangled in my back hair, I said with a candour that became me well: “I was looking for a mouse.” If she had replied, “Ah, yes, indeed. I understand now. A mouse, to be sure. Quite,” everything would have been nice and smooth, but she didn't. “A mouse?” she said. “What do you mean?” Well, of course, if she didn't know what a mouse was, there was evidently a good deal of tedious spadework before us, and one would scarcely have known where to start.
- (work done by digging with a spade): digging
- (work done in preparation): prep, prep work, preparatory work, homework
work done by digging with a spade
work done in preparation