Definition of workhouse in English:

workhouse

Syllabification: work·house
Pronunciation: /ˈwərkˌhous
 
/

noun

  • 1 historical (In the UK) a public institution in which the destitute of a parish received board and lodging in return for work.
    More example sentences
    • Unlike Boston, which had the financial resources to build more than one public institution for the poor, many towns in New England only built one institution, either a workhouse or an almshouse.
    • The overarching vision of a totally deterrent New Poor Law where relief would only be administered in the workhouse clashed with local parish budgets and the reality of the family wage economy.
    • But at the time the only alleviation remained the institution of workhouses, although philanthropists were constructing almshouses, cheap housing for the poor.
  • 2US A prison in which petty offenders are expected to work.
    More example sentences
    • There were 400 there, including 46 inmates at the workhouse.
    • No matter how we felt about the workhouse the inmates who had been there quite awhile, like myself, had learnt not to even mention running away.
    • Individual supervisors of public works or of workhouses might be named, but there was no global critique of political institutions.

More definitions of workhouse

Definition of workhouse in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day kerf
Pronunciation: kəːf
noun
a slit made by cutting with a saw