View synonyms for labor


[ ley-ber ]


  1. productive activity, especially for the sake of economic gain.

    Antonyms: rest, leisure, idleness

  2. the body of persons engaged in such activity, especially those working for wages.

    Synonyms: working class

  3. this body of persons considered as a class ( management and capital ).
  4. physical or mental work, especially of a hard or fatiguing kind; toil.

    Synonyms: exertion

    Antonyms: rest, leisure, idleness

  5. a job or task done or to be done.
  6. the physical effort and periodic uterine contractions of childbirth.

    Synonyms: delivery, parturition

  7. the interval from the onset of these contractions to childbirth.
  8. Labor. Also called Labor Department. Informal. the Department of Labor.

verb (used without object)

  1. to perform labor; exert one's powers of body or mind; work; toil.

    Synonyms: drudge

    Antonyms: rest

  2. to strive, as toward a goal; work hard (often followed by for ):

    to labor for peace.

  3. to act, behave, or function at a disadvantage (usually followed by under ):

    to labor under a misapprehension.

  4. to be in the actual process of giving birth.
  5. to roll or pitch heavily, as a ship.

verb (used with object)

  1. to develop or dwell on in excessive detail:

    Don't labor the point.

    Synonyms: overdo, belabor

  2. to burden or tire:

    to labor the reader with unnecessary detail.

  3. British Dialect. to work or till (soil or the like).


  1. of or relating to workers, their associations, or working conditions:

    labor reforms.


/ ˈleɪbə /


  1. 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


/ bər /

  1. 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.


  1. 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.

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Other Words From

  • la·bor·ing·ly adverb
  • la·bor·less adjective
  • an·ti·la·bor adjective
  • non·la·bor adjective
  • out·la·bor verb (used with object)
  • o·ver·la·bor verb (used with object)
  • pre·la·bor noun verb (used without object)
  • pro·la·bor adjective
  • un·la·bor·ing adjective
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Word History and Origins

Origin of labor1

First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English labour, from Old French, from Latin labōr- (stem of labor ) “work”
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Example Sentences

In just one week out of the last 23—dating all the way back to March—weekly jobless claims have come in above 1 million, adding to the carnage in the labor market.

From Fortune

Investigators found the ZIP code protocol was also on the books at Lovelace’s emergency department, in addition to its labor and delivery and perinatal care units.

One in every two Nigerians in the country’s labor force is either unemployed or underemployed.

From Quartz

Depending who you ask, though, these labor savings don’t quite carry over to cost savings for the final consumer.

They can be put to frequent use without requiring more paid labor hours, they are always compliant, and some can even provide the data to prove that they have scoured every inch assigned.

Expensive day care pushes women out of the labor market while men continue to work outside the home.

Public sector unions have also fractured the labor movement itself.

In Turkey, crime groups in border areas are exploiting the labor of Syrian male refugees who cannot find legitimate employment.

Many more illegal migrants face labor trafficking in Europe as they flee the conflict regions of North Africa and the Middle East.

In the summer of 2014, they both were sentenced to 4-1/2 years in a labor camp.

All over the world the just claims of organized labor are intermingled with the underground conspiracy of social revolution.

The blind Samson of labor will seize upon the pillars of society and bring them down in a common destruction.

The poverty of earlier days was the outcome of the insufficiency of human labor to meet the primal needs of human kind.

Beggars are not abundant; but women are required to labor quite extensively in the fields.

Labor, so it was argued, was perpetually being saved by the constant introduction of new uses of machinery.


Related Words

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More About Labor

What does labor mean?

Labor is any productive activity, usually in exchange for money or other value, as in My labor in the garden paid off in lots of fresh veggies.

While labor can be any productive activity, it is most often associated with work that is done by moving the body and using tools.

Labor also describes the collection of people doing the work. The labor force is a specific set of employees for an organization or the entire class of people who do physical, or manual, labor.

Labor can be used to mean to perform productive work. While laboring is normally for profit or payment, you might also labor at something like gardening or cleaning. Often, used in this way labor carries a sense of perseverance or adversity, meaning that the person laboring is having a difficult time.

Labor is also the name of the process a female mammal goes through while giving birth. It can describe the whole period from the time that uterine contractions begin until the offspring is born, or it can describe the contractions specifically.

Example: I labor all day just to come home and sleep all night.

Where does labor come from?

The first records of the term labor come from the late 1200s. It ultimately comes from the Latin labōr, meaning “work.”

Labor Day is a holiday that is celebrated in many countries around the globe. It honors all workers, but especially those who perform manual labor. Labor Day has different origins for many countries, and is celebrated at different times of the year. While many countries celebrate Labor Day on May 1, the United States celebrates it on the first Monday in September. In some countries it’s known as International Workers’ Day. Whenever it’s celebrated, setting aside a day to honor labor helps us appreciate the hard work of ourselves and others.

Did you know … ?

What are some other forms related to labor?

  • laboringly (adverb)
  • laborless (adjective)
  • antilabor (adjective)
  • prelabor (noun, verb)
  • prolabor (adjective)

What are some synonyms for labor?

What are some words that share a root or word element with labor

What are some words that often get used in discussing labor?

How is labor used in real life?

Labor is a common word that most often refers to hard work.

Try using labor!

Which of the following is NOT a synonym for labor

A. work
B. job
C. idleness
D. industry

When To Use

What are other ways to say labor?

Labor refers to mental or physical work, especially that which is hard or fatiguing. When should you use labor instead of work, drudgery, or toil? Find out on




La BohèmeLabor and Socialist International