work·​house | \ˈwərk-ˌhau̇s \

Definition of workhouse 

1 British : poorhouse

2 : a house of correction for persons guilty of minor law violations

Examples of workhouse in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

During the Industrial Revolution, England built workhouses where the destitute broke stones and untangled rope in return for food and a bed. The Economist, "The welfare state needs updating," 12 July 2018 The commission that repealed the system replaced it with Dickensian workhouses—a corrective, at the opposite extreme, for a program that everyone agreed had failed. Nathan Heller, The New Yorker, "Who Really Stands to Win from Universal Basic Income?," 24 Mar. 2014 As many as 1 million souls lie buried on Hart Island, purchased by the city in 1868 as land for a workhouse for wayward boys and a potter’s field. Washington Post, "Erosion unearthing bones on New York’s island of the dead," 3 May 2018 Outside of the workhouse, news of her fast was spreading. Cameron Knight,, "50 years ago this protester spent 62 days fasting in Cincinnati jail. She's still got game.," 26 Mar. 2018 Despite its lofty ideals, the Industrial School proved to be little more than a harsh workhouse, whose real purpose was to keep troubled youths out of sight. Gary Kamiya, San Francisco Chronicle, "Corrupt, inhumane reform school was SF’s first form of juvenile justice," 16 Mar. 2018 Despite being an indomitable workhouse in the booth, the embattled Alamo Records artist has struggled to stave off his demons. Carl Lamarre, Billboard, "03 Greedo on His New Album 'The Wolf of Grape Street,' His Love for Paramore & Why He Lost Respect for Timbaland," 12 Mar. 2018 Chaplin’s Lambeth years were not happy ones, but as the BBC reports, his descendants believe preserving his legacy there is an important one, and have lent their support to a campaign that seeks to save a museum located in the former workhouse. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "The Cinema Museum, Housed in the Workhouse Where Charlie Chaplin Spent His Formative Years, Is Under Threat," 16 Dec. 2017 Roosevelt Island, the skinny, two-mile-long strip of land between Manhattan and Queens in the East River, has been home to a prison, a lunatic asylum, a smallpox hospital and a workhouse, among other institutions. Elizabeth A. Harris, New York Times, "High Tech and High Design, Cornell’s Roosevelt Island Campus Opens," 13 Sep. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'workhouse.' 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 workhouse

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of workhouse was in the 15th century

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Legal Definition of workhouse 

: a correctional facility for persons guilty of minor criminal violations

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Britannica English: Translation of workhouse for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about workhouse

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a private place of worship

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