From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Work \Work\ (w[^u]rk), v. i. [imp. & p. p. Worked (w[^u]rkt),
   or Wrought (r[add]t); p. pr. & vb. n. Working.] [AS.
   wyrcean (imp. worthe, wrohte, p. p. geworht, gewroht); akin
   to OFries. werka, wirka, OS. wirkian, D. werken, G. wirken,
   Icel. verka, yrkja, orka, Goth. wa['u]rkjan. [root]145. See
   Work, n.]
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   1. To exert one's self for a purpose; to put forth effort for
      the attainment of an object; to labor; to be engaged in
      the performance of a task, a duty, or the like.
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            O thou good Kent, how shall I live and work,
            To match thy goodness?                --Shak.
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            Go therefore now, and work; for there shall no straw
            be given you.                         --Ex. v. 18.
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            Whether we work or play, or sleep or wake,
            Our life doth pass.                   --Sir J.
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   2. Hence, in a general sense, to operate; to act; to perform;
      as, a machine works well.
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            We bend to that the working of the heart. --Shak.
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   3. Hence, figuratively, to be effective; to have effect or
      influence; to conduce.
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            We know that all things work together for good to
            them that love God.                   --Rom. viii.
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            This so wrought upon the child, that afterwards he
            desired to be taught.                 --Locke.
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            She marveled how she could ever have been wrought
            upon to marry him.                    --Hawthorne.
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   4. To carry on business; to be engaged or employed
      customarily; to perform the part of a laborer; to labor;
      to toil.
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            They that work in fine flax . . . shall be
            confounded.                           --Isa. xix. 9.
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   5. To be in a state of severe exertion, or as if in such a
      state; to be tossed or agitated; to move heavily; to
      strain; to labor; as, a ship works in a heavy sea.
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            Confused with working sands and rolling waves.
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   6. To make one's way slowly and with difficulty; to move or
      penetrate laboriously; to proceed with effort; -- with a
      following preposition, as down, out, into, up, through,
      and the like; as, scheme works out by degrees; to work
      into the earth.
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            Till body up to spirit work, in bounds
            Proportioned to each kind.            --Milton.
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   7. To ferment, as a liquid.
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            The working of beer when the barm is put in.
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   8. To act or operate on the stomach and bowels, as a
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            Purges . . . work best, that is, cause the blood so
            to do, . . . in warm weather or in a warm room.
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   To work at, to be engaged in or upon; to be employed in.

   To work to windward (Naut.), to sail or ply against the
      wind; to tack to windward. --Mar. Dict.
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