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to set on work
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Work \Work\ (w[^u]rk), n. [OE. work, werk, weorc, AS. weorc, worc; akin to OFries. werk, wirk, OS., D., & G. werk, OHG. werc, werah, Icel. & Sw. verk, Dan. v[ae]rk, Goth. gawa['u]rki, Gr. 'e`rgon, [digamma]e`rgon, work, "re`zein to do, 'o`rganon an instrument, 'o`rgia secret rites, Zend verez to work. [root]145. Cf. Bulwark, Energy, Erg, Georgic, Liturgy, Metallurgy, Organ, Orgy, Surgeon, Wright.] [1913 Webster] 1. Exertion of strength or faculties; physical or intellectual effort directed to an end; industrial activity; toil; employment; sometimes, specifically, physical labor. [1913 Webster] Man hath his daily work of body or mind Appointed. --Milton. [1913 Webster] 2. The matter on which one is at work; that upon which one spends labor; material for working upon; subject of exertion; the thing occupying one; business; duty; as, to take up one's work; to drop one's work. [1913 Webster] Come on, Nerissa; I have work in hand That you yet know not of. --Shak. [1913 Webster] In every work that he began . . . he did it with all his heart, and prospered. --2 Chron. xxxi. 21. [1913 Webster] 3. That which is produced as the result of labor; anything accomplished by exertion or toil; product; performance; fabric; manufacture; in a more general sense, act, deed, service, effect, result, achievement, feat. [1913 Webster] To leave no rubs or blotches in the work. --Shak. [1913 Webster] The work some praise, And some the architect. --Milton. [1913 Webster] Fancy . . . Wild work produces oft, and most in dreams. --Milton. [1913 Webster] The composition or dissolution of mixed bodies . . . is the chief work of elements. --Sir K. Digby. [1913 Webster] 4. Specifically: (a) That which is produced by mental labor; a composition; a book; as, a work, or the works, of Addison. (b) Flowers, figures, or the like, wrought with the needle; embroidery. [1913 Webster] I am glad I have found this napkin; . . . I'll have the work ta'en out, And give 't Iago. --Shak. [1913 Webster] (c) pl. Structures in civil, military, or naval engineering, as docks, bridges, embankments, trenches, fortifications, and the like; also, the structures and grounds of a manufacturing establishment; as, iron works; locomotive works; gas works. (d) pl. The moving parts of a mechanism; as, the works of a watch. [1913 Webster] 5. Manner of working; management; treatment; as, unskillful work spoiled the effect. --Bp. Stillingfleet. [1913 Webster] 6. (Mech.) The causing of motion against a resisting force. The amount of work is proportioned to, and is measured by, the product of the force into the amount of motion along the direction of the force. See Conservation of energy, under Conservation, Unit of work, under Unit, also Foot pound, Horse power, Poundal, and Erg. [1913 Webster] Energy is the capacity of doing work . . . Work is the transference of energy from one system to another. --Clerk Maxwell. [1913 Webster] 7. (Mining) Ore before it is dressed. --Raymond. [1913 Webster] 8. pl. (Script.) Performance of moral duties; righteous conduct. [1913 Webster] He shall reward every man according to his works. --Matt. xvi. 27. [1913 Webster] Faith, if it hath not works, is dead. --James ii. 17. [1913 Webster] 9. (Cricket) Break; twist. [Cant] [Webster 1913 Suppl.] 10. (Mech.) The causing of motion against a resisting force, measured by the product of the force into the component of the motion resolved along the direction of the force. Energy is the capacity of doing work. . . . Work is the transference of energy from one system to another. --Clerk Maxwell. [Webster 1913 Suppl.] 11. (Mining) Ore before it is dressed. [Webster 1913 Suppl.] Muscular work (Physiol.), the work done by a muscle through the power of contraction. To go to work, to begin laboring; to commence operations; to contrive; to manage. "I 'll go another way to work with him." --Shak. To set on work, to cause to begin laboring; to set to work. [Obs.] --Hooker. To set to work, to employ; to cause to engage in any business or labor. [1913 Webster]