elbow grease


: hard work
There is just no substitution for the elbow grease involved in promotion. You just have to get out there and work hard to get the word to the stores that the book is available.Andy Shafran
especially : vigorously applied physical labor or effort
Best of all, the metal handle is bendable, making it easy to defat liquids of varying depths. Kudos to a kitchen tool that spares elbow grease. Grace Young

Examples of elbow grease in a Sentence

It's going to take some elbow grease to get this counter clean. with a little polish and a lot of elbow grease, I was able to make the old silver teapot shine again
Recent Examples on the Web There are plenty of products that claim to be the best method for how to get rid of mold in a bathroom, but good old soap and water (and elbow grease) are usually enough to do the trick. Megan Boettcher, Better Homes & Gardens, 8 Sep. 2023 But there is a bit of elbow grease that needs to be added to the equation. Paul Cappiello, The Courier-Journal, 11 Aug. 2023 Liquids can be dabbed off, but our testers were impressed by how easily stains came out with a gentle cleanser and a little elbow grease. Belle Duchene, Better Homes & Gardens, 30 May 2023 The good news is that mildew is pretty easy to clean with your favorite household cleaner, a scrub brush, and some elbow grease. Melissa Locker, Southern Living, 7 Aug. 2023 Rust can be cleaned with some serious elbow grease, but dings, cracks, and missing chunks cannot. Amanda Ogle, Treehugger, 30 May 2023 The July Checked Suitcase rolls smoothly on hard floors but requires a little more elbow grease on carpet. Theresa Holland, Travel + Leisure, 17 May 2023 Enter the power scrubber — a portable, powerful drill accessory that allows users to eliminate stubborn dirt and stains without having to put in too much elbow grease. Toni Sutton, Peoplemag, 1 May 2023 Some songs take a lot of elbow grease, but this was done in two or three days. Andy Greene, Rolling Stone, 21 July 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'elbow grease.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1672, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of elbow grease was in 1672

Dictionary Entries Near elbow grease

Cite this Entry

“Elbow grease.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/elbow%20grease. Accessed 25 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition

elbow grease

: forceful effort in doing physical labor
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!