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under- +‎ work


underwork (third-person singular simple present underworks, present participle underworking, simple past and past participle underworked)

  1. (transitive) To require too little work from; to work insufficiently.
  2. (intransitive, obsolete) To work or operate in secret or clandestinely.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Ben Jonson to this entry?)
  3. (transitive, intransitive) To do less work than necessary (on).
    to underwork a painting
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Dryden to this entry?)
  4. (intransitive) To do work for inadequate payment.
  5. (transitive) To injure by working secretly; to destroy or overthrow by clandestine measure; to undermine.
    • Shakespeare
      But thou from loving England art so far, / That thou hast underwrought his lawful king.
  6. (transitive) To do similar work for a lesser price than; to undercut.
    One mason may underwork another.


underwork (uncountable)

  1. Subordinate work; petty business.
    the underwork of the nation

Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for underwork in
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)