I'm here with this argument between whether "does not work that well", means "completely broken", or "not completely broken". Personally I believe it means the second (not completely).

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    It may not be broken at all, it might just be a poor design, but either way the implication is that the thing does work, just not as well as it should or as expected. You might also use that expression when using an otherwise perfectly good tool to try to do something it isn't intended to do: "I tried to peel the potatoes using scissors, but it didn't work very well."
    – nnnnnn
    Jul 31, 2019 at 9:06

1 Answer 1


No. "Does not work that well" does not usually mean something is broken. It might just be bad at the job because of how it was designed.

The statement might also be used to show that the product did not meet the user's expectations.

For instance, a cleaning tool that is used to wipe a surface might leave a bad smell. Someone might say it does not work that well because as much as it helps wipe the surface clean the end result is not desirable because of the smell it leaves on the surface.

  • The chocolate fireguard does not work that well :)
    – Smock
    Jul 31, 2019 at 10:22

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