leg·​work | \ ˈleg-ˌwərk also ˈlāg- How to pronounce legwork (audio) \

Definition of legwork

: active physical work (as in gathering information) that forms the basis of more creative or mentally exacting work (such as writing a book)

Examples of legwork in a Sentence

I wrote the article myself, but my assistant gathered the information and did most of the other legwork.

Recent Examples on the Web

Given the diplomatic legwork that went into forging the initial withdrawal deal, however, government officials are reluctant to reopen the fraught talks with the EU. Jason Douglas, WSJ, "U.K. Parliament Repudiates Theresa May’s Brexit Plan," 15 Jan. 2019 The political and legal legwork turned out to be the easy part. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "The Hoover Dam Changed America—And It Might Do It Again," 27 July 2018 Initially, the commission’s chairman insisted that Smith’s conflicts of interest wouldn’t matter and that the agency’s staffers would handle a majority of the legwork in cases in which Smith would have to recuse himself. Makena Kelly, The Verge, "The FTC’s top consumer protection official can’t go after Facebook — or 100 other companies," 6 Dec. 2018 This includes both the van and the conversion, and Boho does all the legwork of finding a van to get started. Megan Barber, Curbed, "Boho-chic, fully converted camper van is $35K," 10 Sep. 2018 Even that step requires legal legwork, such as establishing that Myanmar has no adequate national mechanism for accountability. Jon Emont, WSJ, "Court Ruling Opens Bumpy Road for Myanmar Prosecutions," 7 Sep. 2018 Moral of the story: Do a bit of legwork before whipping out your digital wallet to drum up work. Michelle Goodman, The Seattle Times, "Should you pay for freelance job opportunities?," 4 Sep. 2018 The political will, and ability, do to that kind of legwork is relatively rare. Tara Isabella Burton, Vox, "New Catholic sex abuse allegations show how long justice can take in a 16-year scandal," 24 Aug. 2018 Tedium has put a lot of legwork in on finding original documents from the era, all of which are worth checking out). David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Where Area Codes Came From, And Why They Don't Make Sense," 3 Nov. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'legwork.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of legwork

1891, in the meaning defined above

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Dictionary Entries near legwork


leg up

leg warmer




Le Havre

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Time Traveler for legwork

The first known use of legwork was in 1891

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English Language Learners Definition of legwork

: the active physical work that is involved in doing something

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with legwork

Nglish: Translation of legwork for Spanish Speakers

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