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See more synonyms for moil on Thesaurus.com
verb (used without object)
  1. to work hard; drudge.
  2. to whirl or churn ceaselessly; twist; eddy.
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verb (used with object)
  1. Archaic. to wet or smear.
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  1. hard work or drudgery.
  2. confusion, turmoil, or trouble.
  3. Glassmaking. a superfluous piece of glass formed during blowing and removed in the finishing operation.
  4. Mining. a short hand tool with a polygonal point, used for breaking or prying out rock.
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Origin of moil

1350–1400; Middle English moillen to make or get wet and muddy < Middle French moillier < Vulgar Latin *molliāre, derivative of Latin mollis soft
Related formsmoil·er, nounmoil·ing·ly, adverbun·moiled, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

strive, travail, strain, work, drive, grind, plod, sweat, struggle, back, drudge, toil, slave, endeavor, tend, cultivate, tug, fag

Examples from the Web for moil

Historical Examples

  • And why should men toil and moil when they had been the masters of the world?

    The Three Cities Trilogy, Complete

    Emile Zola

  • I'll juist tak' a leuk at the grave, moil, gin ye'll hae an ee on the dog.

    Greyfriars Bobby

    Eleanor Atkinson

  • Toil and moil every day from your first breath to your last, and what good does it bring you?

    Joyce's Investments

    Fannie E. Newberry

  • Why, then, toil and moil for mere vanities that we must leave behind us?

  • There were people who were rich; people who did not have to toil and moil—people who lived in plenty.

    Wang the Ninth

    Putnam Weale

British Dictionary definitions for moil


  1. to moisten or soil or become moist, soiled, etc
  2. (intr) to toil or drudge (esp in the phrase toil and moil)
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  1. toil; drudgery
  2. confusion; turmoil
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Derived Formsmoiler, noun

Word Origin

C14 (to moisten; later: to work hard in unpleasantly wet conditions) from Old French moillier, ultimately from Latin mollis soft
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 moil


"to labour in the mire" [Johnson], c.1400, from Old French moillier "to wet, moisten" (12c., Modern French mouiller), from Vulgar Latin *molliare, from Latin mollis "soft," from PIE *mel- "soft" (see mild). Related: Moiled; moiling.

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"toil, labor," 1612, from moil (v.).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper