ground work

groundwork

[ground-wurk]
noun
foundation or basis: He laid the groundwork for an international conference.

Origin:
1540–50; ground1 + work

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World English Dictionary
groundwork (ˈɡraʊndˌwɜːk)
 
n
1.  preliminary work as a foundation or basis
2.  the ground or background of a painting, etc

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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