Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

work out - definition and synonyms


What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

phrasal verb
Word Forms
present tense
I/you/we/theywork out
he/she/itworks out
present participleworking out
past tenseworked out
past participleworked out
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  1. 1
    [transitive] to deal with a problem in a satisfactory way

    We’ve worked out our differences.

    1. b.
      to solve a problem by doing a calculation

      I was born in 1947: you work out my age.

  2. 2
    [intransitive] to do physical exercise as a way of staying in shape

    He works out at the local gym every day.

  3. 3
    [intransitive] to be successful, or to end in a particular way

    If it doesn’t work out, you can always come back here.

  4. 4
    [transitive] to find a satisfactory way of doing something

    An international peace plan has been worked out.

    1. a.
      to decide or agree on something

      The exact details of the event haven’t been worked out yet.

      We haven’t worked out a date for the meeting.

  5. 5
    [intransitive] to add up to a particular amount
    work out at:

    The mortgage works out to about $660 a month.

    1. a.
      used for saying what the actual cost or value of something is when you calculate it
  6. 6
    [transitive] to understand someone or something

    I can’t work him out.

See also main entry: work

sea lion

in an online conversation, repeatedly asking a person questions which suggest that you are interested in what they are talking about, but are actually intended to annoy them

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


an electric skateboard

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play