- painfully difficult or burdensome work; toil.
- pain, anguish or suffering resulting from mental or physical hardship.
- the pain of childbirth.
- to suffer the pangs of childbirth; be in labor.
- to toil or exert oneself.
Origin of travail
SynonymsSee more synonyms for travail on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for travails
He returned home a pauper without a pension and 50 years later, at 70, chronicled the travails of the War of Independence.McCain’s 13 Favorite Soldiers
November 11, 2014
The whole history of Western film and TV is mostly the travails of wealthy people with problems only the wealthy can understand.
Ira is classic Moore; his travails feature her signature blend of absurdity and desperation.This Week’s Hot Reads: February 18, 2014
February 18, 2014
It was he who guided us through the travails of early adulthood.My Eulogy for My Father, Murray Frum
May 31, 2013
That quip reflected his own travails with thinking outside the box.Peter Worthington on Thinking Outside the Box
May 17, 2013
For duty is God's midwife, sent to deliver the soul that travails in its anguish.St. Cuthbert's
Robert E. Knowles
No more then remember we our pains; our ship-wrecks and dangers are forgotten; we fear no more the travails and the thieves.Some Noble Sisters
Seeing the splendor reserved for itself, it groans and travails unceasingly.Epistle Sermons, Vol. III
His heart yearns towards them; he travails over them in birth again.The Expositor's Bible: The Epistle to the Galatians
G. G. Findlay
The Travails dealt with a matter of ephemeral interest, and would not long have held the public.Francis Beaumont: Dramatist
Charles Mills Gayley
- painful or excessive labour or exertion
- the pangs of childbirth; labour
- (intr) to suffer or labour painfully, esp in childbirth
Word Origin and History for travails
"labor, toil," mid-13c., from Old French travail "suffering or painful effort, trouble" (12c.), from travailler "to toil, labor," originally "to trouble, torture," from Vulgar Latin *tripaliare "to torture," from *tripalium (in Late Latin trepalium) "instrument of torture," probably from Latin tripalis "having three stakes" (from tria, tres "three" + palus "stake"), which sounds ominous, but the exact notion is obscure. The verb is recorded from late 13c.