- hard and continuous work; exhausting labor or effort.
- a laborious task.
- Archaic. battle; strife; struggle.
- to engage in hard and continuous work; labor arduously: to toil in the fields.
- to move or travel with difficulty, weariness, or pain.
- to accomplish or produce by toil.
Origin of toil1
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
- Usually toils. a net or series of nets in which game known to be in the area is trapped or into which game outside of the area is driven.
- Usually toils. trap; snare: to be caught in the toils of a gigantic criminal conspiracy.
- Archaic. any snare or trap for wild beasts.
Origin of toil2
Examples from the Web for toil
What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun?Brecht's Mercenary Mother Courage Turns 75
September 10, 2014
In the years 1914-18, women flooded into the workplace to take on the toil of men conscripted to fight.The Tragic, Heroic Women of World War I
June 29, 2014
But football is a game in which a moment of magic can undo an hour of toil.Team USA 2, Portugal 2: Seconds Away From World Cup Glory
June 23, 2014
These early British settlers soon established tobacco then sugar cane plantations and started importing workers to toil on them.Uncovering the Secrets of St. Kitts
Debra A. Klein
June 21, 2014
I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat.Churchill Would Be Famous Today on the Strength of His Writing Alone
June 16, 2014
It asserts that we have the right to choice of our own work and to the reward of our own toil.
In each generation, with toil and tears, we have had to earn our heritage again.
He did not find that easy, or to be done in a moment without pain or toil.Weighed and Wanting
To be sure, the wage was infinitesimal, while the toil was body-breaking soul-breaking.Within the Law
What they have taken in hand to do seems worth toil, danger, and life itself.The Three Golden Apples
- hard or exhausting work
- an obsolete word for strife
- (intr) to labour
- (intr) to progress with slow painful movementsto toil up a hill
- (tr) archaic to achieve by toil
- (often plural) a net or snarethe toils of fortune had ensnared him
- archaic a trap for wild beasts
Word Origin and History for toil
"hard work," c.1300, "turmoil, contention, dispute," from Anglo-French toil (13c.), from toiler "agitate, stir up, entangle," from Old French toeillier "drag about, make dirty" (12c.), usually said to be from Latin tudiculare "crush with a small hammer," from tudicula "mill for crushing olives, instrument for crushing," from root of tundere "to pound" (see obtuse). Sense of "hard work, labor" (1590s) is from the related verb (see toil (v.)).
"net, snare," 1520s, from Middle French toile "hunting net, cloth, web" (cf. toile d'araignée "cobweb"), from Old French teile, from Latin tela "web, woven stuff," related to texere "to weave" (see texture). Now used largely in plural (caught in the toils of the law).
c.1300, toilen, "pull at, tug;" late 14c. as "struggle, work, labor," from Anglo-French tuailler, Old French toellier (see toil (n.1)). Related: Toiled; toiling.