- productive activity, especially for the sake of economic gain.
- the body of persons engaged in such activity, especially those working for wages.
- this body of persons considered as a class (distinguished from management and capital).
- physical or mental work, especially of a hard or fatiguing kind; toil.
- a job or task done or to be done.
- the physical effort and periodic uterine contractions of childbirth.
- the interval from the onset of these contractions to childbirth.
- (initial capital letter) Also called Labor Department. Informal. the Department of Labor.
- to perform labor; exert one's powers of body or mind; work; toil.
- to strive, as toward a goal; work hard (often followed by for): to labor for peace.
- to act, behave, or function at a disadvantage (usually followed by under): to labor under a misapprehension.
- to be in the actual process of giving birth.
- to roll or pitch heavily, as a ship.
- to develop or dwell on in excessive detail: Don't labor the point.
- to burden or tire: to labor the reader with unnecessary detail.
- British Dialect. to work or till (soil or the like).
- of or relating to workers, their associations, or working conditions: labor reforms.
Origin of labor
SynonymsSee more synonyms for labor on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for laboring
Rescue workers had been laboring at ground zero every hour since the disaster.The Resilient City: New York After 9/11
September 11, 2014
Bartilla is laboring with an immediate crisis with basic services.The Tragic Exodus of Iraq’s Christians
June 22, 2014
Ruettiger struggled to even get admitted to Notre Dame, laboring through junior college where he was diagnosed as dyslexic.7 Great Football Flicks From Horse Feathers to Friday Night Lights
The Daily Beast
January 28, 2014
The U.S. military, meanwhile, it seemed to me was laboring under an entirely different misapprehension.What If the Iraq War Never Happened?
March 20, 2013
He appointed a Jewish American as consul to Bucharest “for the benefit of the people who are laboring under severe oppression.”What Happened When General Grant Expelled Civil War Jews
March 22, 2012
We woke up the farmer and his servant-maids and laboring men.A Comedy of Marriage and Other Tales
Guy De Maupassant
"You appear to be laboring under some sort of delusion," he replied.The Mystery of Murray Davenport
Robert Neilson Stephens
She seemed to be laboring under an apprehension that almost unnerved her.The Law-Breakers
Smithy's voice was strained; it showed the tension under which he was laboring.Two Thousand Miles Below
Charles Willard Diffin
She was very pale, and laboring under so great an emotion that she had almost fallen.L'Assommoir
- the US spelling of labour
Word Origin and History for laboring
c.1300, "a task, a project;" later "exertion of the body; trouble, difficulty, hardship" (late 14c.), from Old French labor "labor, toil, work, exertion, task" (12c., Modern French labeur), from Latin laborem (nominative labor) "labor, toil, exertion; hardship, pain, fatigue; a work, a product of labor," of uncertain origin, perhaps originally from the notion of "tottering under a burden," and related to labere "to totter."
Meaning "body of laborers considered as a class" (usually contrasted to capitalists) is from 1839. Sense of "physical exertions of childbirth" is 1590s, earlier labour of birthe (early 15c.), a sense also found in Old French, and cf. French en travail "in (childbirth) suffering" (see travail). Labor Day first marked 1882 in New York City.
late 14c., "perform manual or physical work; work hard; keep busy; take pains, strive, endeavor" (also "copulate"), from Old French laborer "work, toil; struggle, have difficulty," from Latin laborare, from labor (see labor (n.)). The verb in modern French, Spanish, Portuguese means "to plow;" the wider sense being taken by the equivalent of English travail. Sense of "to endure pain, suffer" is early 15c., especially in phrase labor of child. Related: Labored; laboring.
- The physical efforts of expulsion of the fetus and the placenta from the uterus during parturition.
- To undergo the efforts of childbirth.
- 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.