Etymology
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workhorse (n.)

1540s, from work (n.) + horse (n.). Figurative use by 1949.

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Definitions of workhorse

workhorse (n.)
machine that performs dependably under heavy use;
the IBM main frame computers have been the workhorse of the business world
workhorse (n.)
a horse used for plowing and hauling and other heavy labor;
From wordnet.princeton.edu