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workhouse Line breaks: work|house
Pronunciation: /ˈwəːkhaʊs/

Definition of workhouse in English:


1 historical (In the UK) a public institution in which the destitute of a parish received board and lodging in return for work.
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.
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.
Definition of workhouse in:
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