- productive activity, especially for the sake of economic gain.
- the body of persons engaged in such activity, especially those working for wages.
- this body of persons considered as a class (distinguished from management and capital).
- physical or mental work, especially of a hard or fatiguing kind; toil.
- a job or task done or to be done.
- the physical effort and periodic uterine contractions of childbirth.
- the interval from the onset of these contractions to childbirth.
- (initial capital letter) Also called Labor Department. Informal. the Department of Labor.
- to perform labor; exert one's powers of body or mind; work; toil.
- to strive, as toward a goal; work hard (often followed by for): to labor for peace.
- to act, behave, or function at a disadvantage (usually followed by under): to labor under a misapprehension.
- to be in the actual process of giving birth.
- to roll or pitch heavily, as a ship.
- to develop or dwell on in excessive detail: Don't labor the point.
- to burden or tire: to labor the reader with unnecessary detail.
- British Dialect. to work or till (soil or the like).
- of or relating to workers, their associations, or working conditions: labor reforms.
Origin of labor
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for labour
They were finally accepted by a Labour Home Secretary, Roy Jenkins, in 1967.The Castration of Alan Turing, Britain’s Code-Breaking WWII Hero
November 29, 2014
A senior Labour Party MP scoffed at what he suggested was faulty logic.Britain’s Let-Em-All-Die Policy
Nico Hines, Barbie Latza Nadeau
November 1, 2014
You take away Scotland, you take a major base of Labour strength.
So a Scottish secession need not prevent Labour from winning in a reduced UK.
However: The historical record does not, it should be said, support the cataclysmic conclusion that Labour could never win again.
To serve your friend would have been, I deemed, a labour of love.
Had you been poor, how delightful would it have been to labour for my benefactor!
Every thought was bent to attain the end, no labour was deemed to arduous.The Grand Old Man
Richard B. Cook
And what the "future hope" was, he told us in the very first line of "Love's Labour's Lost."The Man Shakespeare
The wished time had come of rest from labour, of leisure for thought.Green Mansions
W. H. Hudson
- productive work, esp physical toil done for wages
- the people, class, or workers involved in this, esp in contrast to management, capital, etc
- (as modifier)a labour dispute; labour relations
- difficult or arduous work or effort
- (in combination)labour-saving
- a particular job or task, esp of a difficult nature
- the process or effort of childbirth or the time during which this takes place
- (as modifier)labour pains
- labour of love something done for pleasure rather than gain
- (intr) to perform labour; work
- (intr; foll by for, etc) to strive or work hard (for something)
- (intr usually foll by under) to be burdened (by) or be at a disadvantage (because of)to labour under a misapprehension
- (intr) to make one's way with difficulty
- (tr) to deal with or treat too persistentlyto labour a point
- (intr) (of a woman) to be in labour
- (intr) (of a ship) to pitch and toss
- the US spelling of labour
Word Origin and History for labour
c.1300, "a task, a project;" later "exertion of the body; trouble, difficulty, hardship" (late 14c.), from Old French labor "labor, toil, work, exertion, task" (12c., Modern French labeur), from Latin laborem (nominative labor) "labor, toil, exertion; hardship, pain, fatigue; a work, a product of labor," of uncertain origin, perhaps originally from the notion of "tottering under a burden," and related to labere "to totter."
Meaning "body of laborers considered as a class" (usually contrasted to capitalists) is from 1839. Sense of "physical exertions of childbirth" is 1590s, earlier labour of birthe (early 15c.), a sense also found in Old French, and cf. French en travail "in (childbirth) suffering" (see travail). Labor Day first marked 1882 in New York City.
late 14c., "perform manual or physical work; work hard; keep busy; take pains, strive, endeavor" (also "copulate"), from Old French laborer "work, toil; struggle, have difficulty," from Latin laborare, from labor (see labor (n.)). The verb in modern French, Spanish, Portuguese means "to plow;" the wider sense being taken by the equivalent of English travail. Sense of "to endure pain, suffer" is early 15c., especially in phrase labor of child. Related: Labored; laboring.
- The physical efforts of expulsion of the fetus and the placenta from the uterus during parturition.
- To undergo the efforts of childbirth.
- The process by which the birth of a mammal occurs, beginning with contractions of the uterus and ending with the expulsion of the fetus and the placenta.