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  1. hard and continuous work; exhausting labor or effort.
  2. a laborious task.
  3. Archaic. battle; strife; struggle.
verb (used without object)
  1. to engage in hard and continuous work; labor arduously: to toil in the fields.
  2. to move or travel with difficulty, weariness, or pain.
verb (used with object)
  1. to accomplish or produce by toil.

Origin of toil1

1250–1300; Middle English toile (noun), toilen (v.) < Anglo-French toil contention, toiler to contend < Latin tudiculāre to stir up, beat, verbal derivative of tudicula machine for crushing olives, equivalent to tudi- (stem of tundere to beat) + -cula -cule2
Related formstoil·er, nounun·toil·ing, adjective


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1. exertion, travail, pains. See work. 4. strive, moil.


1. indolence, sloth.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for toiled

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • She and he had toiled side by side like real partners; her efforts had been real and unstinted.


    Mr. and Mrs. Haldeman-Julius

  • He was a man of iron mind and frame, and toiled unceasingly.


    Samuel Smiles

  • And still the bull-dog, with grim certitude, toiled after him.

    White Fang

    Jack London

  • But at front and rear, unawed and indomitable, toiled the two men who were not yet dead.

    White Fang

    Jack London

  • All day she toiled in a garden, and at night she worked with her needle.

British Dictionary definitions for toiled


  1. hard or exhausting work
  2. an obsolete word for strife
  1. (intr) to labour
  2. (intr) to progress with slow painful movementsto toil up a hill
  3. (tr) archaic to achieve by toil
Derived Formstoiler, noun

Word Origin

C13: from Anglo-French toiler to struggle, from Old French toeillier to confuse, from Latin tudiculāre to stir, from tudicula machine for bruising olives, from tudes a hammer, from tundere to beat


  1. (often plural) a net or snarethe toils of fortune had ensnared him
  2. archaic a trap for wild beasts

Word Origin

C16: from Old French toile, from Latin tēla loom
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

Word Origin and History for toiled



"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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper