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WORKHOUSE. A prison where prisoners are kept in employment; a penitentiary. A house provided where the poor are taken care of, and kept in employment.

References in classic literature ?
Such too, to a greater or less extent, is the condition of the operatives of every denomination in England, which is the great workhouse of the world.
There was old people, after working all their lives, going and being shut up in the workhouse, much worse fed and lodged and treated altogether, than--Mr Plornish said manufacturers, but appeared to mean malefactors.
Among other public buildings in a certain town, which for many reasons it will be prudent to refrain from mentioning, and to which I will assign no fictitious name, there is one anciently common to most towns, great or small: to wit, a workhouse; and in this workhouse was born; on a day and date which I need not trouble myself to repeat, inasmuch as it can be of no possible consequence to the reader, in this stage of the business at all events; the item of mortality whose name is prefixed to the head of this chapter.
The result was, that, after a few struggles, Oliver breathed, sneezed, and proceeded to advertise to the inmates of the workhouse the fact of a new burden having been imposed upon the parish, by setting up as loud a cry as could reasonably have been expected from a male infant who had not been possessed of that very useful appendage, a voice, for a much longer space of time than three minutes and a quarter.
Patiently to earn a spare bare living, and quietly to die, untouched by workhouse hands--this was her highest sublunary hope.
If she were captured previously, the money would be taken from her as a pauper who had no right to it, and she would be carried to the accursed workhouse.
In hollow voices from Workhouse, Hospital, and jail, this truth is preached from day to day, and has been proclaimed for years.
Tenders are Invited for Provision of gallery fit out including bespoke display cases for the voices from the workhouse project.
Stripped of their already-meagre belongings, Ann Widdecombe, Alistair McGowan, Zoe Lucker, Colin Jackson, Tyger Drew-Honey and Miquita Oliver face relentless graft under the yoke of the workhouse master and matron, who punish anyone who dares to break the rules, and have no time for former MP Ann's acts of rebellion.
Medicine and the Workhouse, edited by Jonathan Reinarz and Leonard Schwarz.
A GRIM study of more than 500 Irish child skeletons from a mass workhouse grave has uncovered the harrowing deaths suffered by the Famine's youngest victims.