Definitions

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

  • transitive v. To work better or faster than.
  • transitive v. To complete (something); work (something) out.
  • n. A minor fortification constructed beyond a main defensive position or fortification.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To work out to a finish; to complete.
  • v. To work faster or harder than.
  • n. A minor, subsidiary fortification built beyond the main limits of fortification.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To exceed in working; to work more or faster than.
  • n. A minor defense constructed beyond the main body of a work, as a ravelin, lunette, hornwork, etc.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Work done outside, out of doors, or in the fields, as distinguished from indoor work.
  • n. In fortification, one of the minor defenses constructed in advance of the main work or enceinte.
  • n. Hence A bulwark; any defense against violence from outside.
  • To surpass in workmanship.
  • To surpass or exceed in labor, exertion, or agitation.
  • To work out or carry on to a conclusion; complete; finish.

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

  • n. subsidiary defensive structure lying outside the main fortified area

Etymologies

out- +‎ work (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • When a defence of a certain Spanish outwork was resolved upon, the duke, from his rank, was chosen for the command.

    The Wits and Beaux of Society Volume 1

  • In the outwork was a sallyport [Footnote: A sallyport is an underground passage from the outer to the inner fortifications.] corresponding to the postern of the castle, and the whole was surrounded by a strong palisade.

    Journeys Through Bookland, Vol. 4

  • In the outwork was a sally-port corresponding to the postern of the castle, and the whole was surrounded by a strong palisade.

    The Literary World Seventh Reader

  • In the outwork was a sallyport corresponding to the postern of the castle, and the whole was surrounded by a strong palisade.

    Ivanhoe

  • We have destroyed the machines, and retaken the outwork, which is now held by Andrew

    In Freedom's Cause : a Story of Wallace and Bruce

  • Meer Baber Beg has placed his fortress in a very respectable state of defence, quite adequate to repel the desultory inroads of his predatory neighbours; but commanded by and exposed to enfilade from the hills about it, on one of these hills he has built a tower as a kind of outwork, but it is very weak and of insignificant size.

    A Peep into Toorkisthhan

  • I should have mentioned that on the north side of the other Piers at some distance another Pier is sunk to serve as a kind of outwork to the others in breaking the Force of the Ice coming down.

    Journal of a Tour to North Carolina by William Attmore, 1787

  • The prospect of owning land whipped many American colonists to outwork everyone else on the planet.

    A Renegade History of the United States

  • A small, shy woman who could outwork any man, Conway agreed to the same procedure.

    Wild Bill Donovan

  • He could make a team or a practice squad with a strong camp, and nobody will outwork him in their effort to get there.

    North Carolina State - Team Notes

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