Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A prison in which limited sentences are served at manual labor.
  • n. Chiefly British A poorhouse.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. formerly, an institution for the poor homeless, funded by the local parish where the able-bodied were required to work.
  • n. a prison in which the sentence includes manual labour.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A house where any manufacture is carried on; a workshop.
  • n. A house in which idle and vicious persons are confined to labor.
  • n. A house where the town poor are maintained at public expense, and provided with labor; a poorhouse.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A house in which work is carried on; a manufactory.
  • n. A house in which able-bodied paupers are compelled to work; a poorhouse.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a poorhouse where able-bodied poor are compelled to labor
  • n. a county jail that holds prisoners for periods up to 18 months

Etymologies

Sorry, no etymologies found.

Examples

  • Now it may come to this, as Mr. Belloc maintains, but it is not the theory on which what we call the workhouse does in fact rest.

    Eugenics and Other Evils

  • The workhouse is a good way, but we stuck to it, though very cold, and hungrier than we thought possible when we started, for we had been so agitated we had not even stayed to eat the plain pudding our good Father had so kindly and thoughtfully ordered for our Christmas dinner.

    New Treasure Seekers

  • The alternative to the workhouse is to go home to Ireland and burden his friends for the rest of his life.

    Inefficiency

  • At Dover the number of vagrants in the workhouse is treble the number there last year at this time, and in other towns the lateness of the season is responsible for a large increase in the number of casuals.

    Hops and Hoppers

  • Could words of man go more deeply home to a young heart caged within workhouse walls?

    Daddy Darwin's Dovecot: A Country Tale

  • Now, you see, Jack, among the old folk in the workhouse was a man who had been at sea; and I often had long talks with him, and gave him tobacco, which he couldn't afford to buy -- for they don't allow it in a workhouse, which is a great hardship, and I have often thought that I should not like to go into a workhouse because I never could have a bit of tobacco.

    Poor Jack

  • Now, you see, Jack, among the old folk in the workhouse was a man who had been at sea; and I often had long talks with him, and gave him tobacco, which he couldn't afford to buy, -- for they don't allow it in a workhouse, which is a great hardship, and I have often thought that I should not like to go into a workhouse because I never could have a bit of tobacco.

    Poor Jack

  • (Here she pointed to two old monsters of carp that had been in a pond in Castlewood gardens for centuries, according to tradition, and had their backs all covered with a hideous grey mould.) “Lockwood must pack off; the workhouse is the place for him; and I shall have a smart, good-looking, tall fellow in the lodge that will do credit to our livery.”

    The Virginians

  • To Joan, the workhouse was a word of shame unutterable.

    Lying Prophets

  • Knowing that Miss Vanderpoel had already gained influence among the village people, Mrs. Brent said, she had come to ask her if she would see old Mrs. Welden and argue with her in such a manner as would convince her that the workhouse was the best place for her.

    The Shuttle

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