make short work of: Idiom Meaning and Origin

What does ‘make short work of’ mean?

The idiom "make short work of" means to complete a task quickly or easily, often implying efficiency or skill in doing so.

Idiom Explorer

Deciphering the Mastery

make quick work of is another idiom that shares a similar meaning with make short work of. It also refers to completing something swiftly and efficiently. The use of "quick" emphasizes the speed and efficiency in accomplishing a task. For example, you might hear someone say, "He made quick work of that assignment" or "The chef made quick work of preparing the meal."

I will quickly conquer and defeat to make short work of.

Similarly, make light work of is another idiom that conveys the idea of completing a task with ease and efficiency. It implies that the task was not challenging or burdensome. The use of "light" suggests a lack of difficulty or effort required. For instance, you might hear someone say, "She made light work of organizing the files" or "The team made light work of assembling the equipment."

in one foul swoop is a phrase that is often used interchangeably with make short work of, make quick work of, or make light work of. It describes completing multiple tasks or solving multiple problems in a single swift action. The use of "foul swoop" creates a vivid image of a sudden and decisive movement. For example, you might hear someone say, "She cleaned the entire house in one foul swoop" or "The company addressed all customer complaints in one foul swoop."

cut corners, on the other hand, is an idiom with a slightly different meaning. It refers to doing something quickly or taking shortcuts, often sacrificing quality or attention to detail. Unlike make short work of, make quick work of, and make light work of, cut corners implies a lack of thoroughness or precision. It can be used in a negative context to describe someone's approach to a task. For instance, you might hear someone say, "He cut corners to finish the project early" or "The company cut corners to reduce costs."

Example usage

Examples of how the idiom *make short work of* can be used in a sentence:

1. She made short work of the mountain of laundry by doing it all in one afternoon.

2. The experienced chef made short work of preparing a five-course meal for the dinner party.

3. With his strong muscles, he made short work of lifting the heavy furniture.

More "Efficiency" idioms