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What is a word to describe complicated background works, internal works or behind-the-scenes works? These works are complicated and often people wouldn't want to know about it. An example is the complicated internal processes of a machine. All the phrases mentioned sound awkward and long.

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Probably, 'dirty work' or 'back-office'. –  user19148 Apr 9 '12 at 21:16
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9 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I've heard most often of avoiding the gruesome details.

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I've only ever heard "gory details". –  chaos Apr 9 '12 at 22:16
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My suggestion would be inner workings (or possibly internals).

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I like your answer, but I think that xenon was referring to different word. –  user19148 Apr 9 '12 at 21:27
    
@Carlo_R. could you elaborate on how my answer doesn't fit xEnOn's question? –  zpletan Apr 9 '12 at 22:21
    
Probably xEnOn was referring to a word or phrase to describe something complicated, difficult to understand. It does not seem that 'internals' has this meaning. –  user19148 Apr 9 '12 at 22:36
    
How about inner workings, which is my first choice? –  zpletan Apr 9 '12 at 22:40
    
The inner work takes a little practice - doing and 'undoing' - before one feels comfortable with it. It does not seem that xEnOn was referring to similar situation. –  user19148 Apr 9 '12 at 22:49
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The nuts and bolts of a machine or system refer to its internal workings.

Skunkworks (or skunk works) refers to works being carried out by people in a more or less secret manner, behind the scenes and unofficially.

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If you want something catchy and don't mind a degree of informality, you could use nitty-gritty.

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Infrastructure ("An underlying base or foundation; ... basic facilities, services and installations ...") is sometimes used to denote the foundations, underpinnings, and inner workings suggested in the question.

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If you really want some conciseness and informal tone is okay, you will entirely get the message across with guts.

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I think you're talking about "backstage" stuff.

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The answer could be "working in the trenches".

As Merriam Webster say "... or level at which an activity is carried on in a manner likened to trench warfare - often used in the phrase «activists working in the trenches»".

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Your answer implies that the work is physically difficult or unpleasant. What I think the OP is after is a word or phrase to describe something complicated. That is, difficult to understand. –  John Y Apr 9 '12 at 22:04
    
@John Y - You are right. Andrew's answer is the better answer. –  user19148 Apr 9 '12 at 22:15
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I think mechanics would work for what you describe.

Mechanics is defined as the working parts of a machine; or the technical aspects of something; or the functional aspect of a system, such as "the mechanics of blood circulation."

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