• WordNet 3.6
    • n workhouse a county jail that holds prisoners for periods up to 18 months
    • n workhouse a poorhouse where able-bodied poor are compelled to labor
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Margaret Sanger was jailed for a month, in 1917, in a workhouse for founding a clinic that dispensed contraceptives.
    • Workhouse A house in which idle and vicious persons are confined to labor.
    • Workhouse A house where any manufacture is carried on; a workshop.
    • Workhouse A house where the town poor are maintained at public expense, and provided with labor; a poorhouse.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n workhouse A house in which work is carried on; a manufactory.
    • n workhouse A house in which able-bodied paupers are compelled to work; a poorhouse. Under the old poor-laws of England there was a workhouse in each parish, partaking of the character of a bridewell, where indigent, vagrant, and idle people were set to work, and supplied with food and clothing, or what is termed indoor relief. Some workhouses were used as places of confinement for rogues and vagabonds, who were there confined and compelled to labor; whilst, others were large almshouses for the maintenance and support of the poor. In the United States the workhouses or poorhouses are sometimes under the charge of the county, sometimes under that of the town or township.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • Workhouse a house where any work or manufacture is carried on: a house of shelter for the poor, who are made to work
    • ***


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
AS. weorchūs,
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
A.S. weorc; Ice. verk, Ger. werk; further conn. with Gr. ergon.


In literature:

Has he not brought his father to the verge of a workhouse by low dissipation and extravagance?
"Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, No. 440" by Various
I might go to the Workhouse my own way.
"The Admirable Tinker" by Edgar Jepson
Rock led the way to Mr. Brisk's workhouse.
"A Sweet Little Maid" by Amy E. Blanchard
In the beautiful English country dwell old Daddy Darwin and Jack March, the little workhouse boy.
"A Mother's List of Books for Children" by Gertrude Weld Arnold
You can't go to the workhouse!
"Happy Pollyooly" by Edgar Jepson
It took the place in 1853 of a marble one, now in the workhouse chapel.
"Bell's Cathedrals: The Cathedral Church of Saint Albans" by Thomas Perkins
Our billet is pretty decent, on the first floor of a large building, which bears a slight resemblance outwardly to a Workhouse.
"Letters from France" by Isaac Alexander Mack
During some time in the eighteenth century the infirmary was used as a workhouse.
"Bell's Cathedrals: The Cathedral Church of Norwich" by C. H. B. Quennell
Sooner would they die than suffer their children to go to the parish workhouses.
"The Gipsies' Advocate or, Observations on the Origin, Character, Manners, and Habits of The English Gipsies" by James Crabb
I should always be thinking that you had got run over, or were starving in the streets, or dying in a workhouse.
"A Final Reckoning" by G. A. Henty

In poetry:

He bore a workhouse brand;
No Pa or Ma had claimed him,
The Beadle found him, and
The Board of Guardians named him.
"Joe Golightly - Or, The First Lord's Daughter" by William Schwenck Gilbert
'When we lay in the burning fever
On the mud of the cold clay floor,
Till you parted us all for three months, squire,
At the dreary workhouse door.
"The Bad Squire" by Charles Kingsley
Luck! good luck! This hillock shall give
My sisters in Ayrshire enough while they live;
And haply bring father, and mother, and all,
From want and the workhouse to Liberty Hall!
"Good Luck! (A Ballad For The Gold-Digger)" by Martin Farquhar Tupper
In a costly palace Youth goes clad in gold;
In a wretched workhouse Age's limbs are cold:
There they sit, the old men by a shivering fire,
Still close and closer cowering, warmth is their desire.
"A Ballad" by Charles Lamb
In a costly palace Youth enjoys his lust;
In a wretched workhouse Age, in corners thrust,
Think upon the former days, when he was well to do,
Had children to stand by him, both friends and kinsmen too.
"A Ballad" by Charles Lamb
In a costly palace if the child with a pin
Do but chance to prick a finger, straight the doctor is called in;
In a wretched workhouse men are left to perish
For want of proper cordials, which their old age might cherish.
"A Ballad" by Charles Lamb

In news:

His life was a giant story, and we cover it from workhouse to Oscars—from London in the 1890s to Hollywood in the 1970s.
The suit was filed Friday in federal court on behalf of seven current and former St Louis inmates of the jail known as the St Louis workhouse.
The Catholic religious orders that ran more than 50 workhouse-style reform schools from the late 19th century until the mid-1990s offered public words of apology, shame and regret Wednesday.
A 45-year-old Minneapolis man has been sentenced to 120 days in the county workhouse for contacting young baseball players in Crystal through Facebook and seeking to have sex with the boys.
Whether you are an art aficionado, music lover, cinephile or nature enthusiast, there's something to enjoy at Lorton's Workhouse Arts Center this fall.
Lowbrow artists get playful at the Workhouse Arts Center.
Workhouse Arts Center's 'Urban Decay 3.
From left Eben Kuhns and Ashley San in the Workhouse production of the magical fairy tale "Rapunzel".
Photo courtesy of the Workhouse Arts Center.
A multi-cultural voyage into adventures beyond the familiar awaits families at the Workhouse Theatre at Lorton for the next weeks.
Join the Classical WETA Players, a group of professional musicians, as they perform at the Workhouse Arts Center Centennial Celebration from 1 - 4 pm on Saturday, September 4.
The Workhouse Arts Center 9601 Ox Road Lorton, VA 22079.
Being able to utilize the workhouse program has been a very beneficial service to this community.
Workhouse Arts Center's 'Urban Decay 3.
An Anoka woman who suffered a miscarriage while in the custody of the Anoka County Workhouse on Sunday will remain in the workhouse for now.