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What does it mean "The elbow worked through the sleeve"?

and what is the synonym of the verb "worked" in the sentence?

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    Please provide full context. – Marius Hancu Apr 23 '15 at 16:50
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    To work has quite a long entry in the full OED. The cited usage here is probably 29a: To form (a hole, groove, etc.) by constant friction or pressure; = wear. – FumbleFingers Apr 23 '15 at 16:54
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It could be that the sleeve was worn out, and the elbow was visible through it.

  • I can understand it now, but one thing that I can't understand is that the verb "work" is used to express doing works. Can you explain the meaning of "work" to me? – qtwqwd Apr 23 '15 at 17:34
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    @FumbleFingers gave you the best dictionary meaning. – Marius Hancu Apr 23 '15 at 17:41
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    "Worked", in this context, means that repeated action over time (ie, the "wearing away" of the cloth) caused the elbow to show through. – Hot Licks Apr 23 '15 at 17:41
  • (You may also occasionally see "worried" used, with similar meaning. Eg, "The elbow had worried a hole in the sleeve.") – Hot Licks Apr 23 '15 at 17:43
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    ldoceonline.com/dictionary/work_1, see 12, 13, 14 – Marius Hancu Apr 23 '15 at 17:45

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