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groundwork (n.)

mid-15c., "foundation of a building or wall, solid base on which a structure is built," from ground (n.) + work (n.) in the older sense. Similar formation in Middle Dutch grontwerck, Dutch grondwerk, German grundwerk. Of immaterial things from 1550s.

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Definitions of groundwork

groundwork (n.)
the fundamental assumptions from which something is begun or developed or calculated or explained;
groundwork (n.)
lowest support of a structure;
Synonyms: foundation / base / fundament / foot / substructure / understructure
groundwork (n.)
preliminary preparation as a basis or foundation;
we are prepared today because of groundwork that was done ten years ago
From wordnet.princeton.edu