Also especially British, la·bour.

Origin of labor

1250–1300; Middle English labour < Middle French < Latin labōr- (stem of labor) work


2 working people, working class.
9 drudge.
14 overdo.


1, 4, 9 rest.

Related forms

Synonym study

4. See work.

Word story

The English noun labor comes into English via Old French labor, labour (French labeur ) from Latin labōr-, the inflectional stem of the noun labor “labor, work, toil.” The Latin noun has just about all the meanings of English labor (including that of childbirth), but not the relatively modern English sense “workers, manual workers taken together as a social group or class,” which dates from the 19th century.
The Latin etymology for labor is obscure: the noun may be related to the verb lābī (which has a long ā ) “to move smoothly, slide” (commonly with implication of downward movement). Lābī in its turn may be related to labāre (with a short a in the root syllable) “to be unsteady on one’s feet, falter, totter.” These derivatives of lāb- and lab- may be related to the Latin nouns labium (the source of English labial ) and labrum, both meaning “lip” and, outside Latin, to the Greek noun lobós “lobe (of the ear, liver, or lung), pod (of a vegetable), slip (of a plant)” (and source of English lobe ). Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for anti-labor

  • "Anti-labor," the clerk said, and typed the designation on the form.

    The Cartels Jungle|Irving E. Cox, Jr.
  • Smith replied that he thought it was "rotten" and that he couldn't agree with Grimm's anti-labor conception of Americanism.

  • Centralia happened to be the place where the tree of anti-labor propaganda first bore its ghastly fruit.

  • But other anti-labor matters took up their attention and it was some time before the second raid was actually accomplished.

British Dictionary definitions for anti-labor


/ (ˈleɪbə) /

verb, noun

the US spelling of 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

Medicine definitions for anti-labor


[ lābər ]


The physical efforts of expulsion of the fetus and the placenta from the uterus during parturition.


To undergo the efforts of childbirth.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for anti-labor


[ lābər ]

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.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Culture definitions for anti-labor


The physical processes at the end of a normal pregnancy, including opening of the cervix and contractions of the uterus, that lead to the birth of the baby.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.