Did you know?

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

work off - 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.

Thesaurus diagram

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 [transitive]
Word Forms
present tense
I/you/we/theywork off
he/she/itworks off
present participleworking off
past tenseworked off
past participleworked off
  1. 1
    to pay someone what you owe them by doing a job for them instead of giving them money

    They were forced to work off their debts.

  2. 2
    if you work off something such as a feeling or some of your weight, you get rid of it by doing something that involves a lot of physical activity

    She generally works off her anger by going for a run.

See also main entry: work


a lifestyle focussing on simple pleasures such as comfort and cosiness in the home, and spending time with friends and family

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


a form of location that involves the underwater detonation of a bomb which causes sound waves that are picked up by ships

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