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[bih-ley-ber] /bɪˈleɪ bər/
verb (used with object)
to explain, worry about, or work at (something) repeatedly or more than is necessary:
He kept belaboring the point long after we had agreed.
to assail persistently, as with scorn or ridicule:
a book that belabors the provincialism of his contemporaries.
to beat vigorously; ply with heavy blows.
Obsolete. to labor at.
Also, especially British, belabour.
Origin of belabor
First recorded in 1590-1600; be- + labor Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for belabour
Historical Examples
  • When they want to belabour anybody they lay on at the agent, Henslowe.

    Robert Elsmere Mrs. Humphry Ward
  • Have you any particular spite at my door, that you belabour it in that style?


    Augusta Jane Evans Wilson
  • Jumping to her feet, she commenced to belabour Mahooley's back with her fists.

    The Huntress Hulbert Footner
  • His only reply was to belabour the miserable victim with a thick stick.

    Great African Travellers W.H.G. Kingston
  • It is exhausting to belabour a thick-skinned and obstinate animal with a stick.

    Blue Lights R.M. Ballantyne
  • He said he would track him out and belabour him as he deserved.'

    Penshurst Castle Emma Marshall
  • They did not indeed all belabour her every day; the method was more scientific.

  • belabour thy brains, as to whom it would be well to question.

  • He seized a stick that was lying on the ground, and began to belabour the hag with all his might.

  • He may hit me on the head and they may belabour me from behind.

    White Nights and Other Stories Fyodor Dostoevsky
British Dictionary definitions for belabour


verb (transitive)
to beat severely; thrash
to attack verbally; criticize harshly
an obsolete word for labour
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for belabour

chiefly British English spelling of belabor (q.v.); for spelling, see -or.



1590s, "to exert one's strength upon," from be- + labor (v.). But figurative sense of "assail with words" is attested somewhat earlier (1590s); and belabored is attested from mid-15c. with a sense of "tilled, cultivated."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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