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, be·la·bour.

Origin of belabor

First recorded in 1590–1600; be- + labor Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for belabour

Historical Examples of belabour

  • 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.

  • It is exhausting to belabour a thick-skinned and obstinate animal with a stick.

    Blue Lights

    R.M. Ballantyne

British Dictionary definitions for belabour


US belabor

verb (tr)

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

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