Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Physical or mental exertion, especially when difficult or exhausting; work. synonym: work.
  • noun A specific task or effort, especially a painful or arduous one.
  • noun A particular form of work or method of working.
  • noun Work for wages.
  • noun Workers considered as a group.
  • noun The trade union movement, especially its officials.
  • noun A political party representing workers' interests, especially in Great Britain.
  • noun The process by which childbirth occurs, beginning with contractions of the uterus and ending with the expulsion of the fetus or infant and the placenta.
  • intransitive verb To work; toil.
  • intransitive verb To strive painstakingly.
  • intransitive verb To proceed with great effort; plod.
  • intransitive verb Nautical To pitch and roll.
  • intransitive verb To suffer from distress or a disadvantage.
  • intransitive verb To undergo the labor of childbirth.
  • intransitive verb To deal with in exhaustive or excessive detail; belabor.
  • intransitive verb To distress; burden.
  • adjective Of or relating to labor.
  • adjective Of or relating to a Labor Party.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Work done by a human being or an animal; exertion of body or mind, or both, for the accomplishment of an end; effort made to attain useful results, in distinction from exercise for the sake of recreation or amusement.
  • noun Specifically, bodily toil; physical exertion for the sake of gain or reward; the use of muscular strength for the satisfaction of wants, in distinction from purely mental exertion and from the productive use of capital.
  • noun Work done or to be done; that which requires exertion or effort; a work; a performance; an achievement: as, the twelve labors of Hercules.
  • noun The laboring class; productive work as represented by those devoted to it: as, the claims or rights of labor; the labor -market.
  • noun The pangs and efforts of childbirth; parturition; travail.
  • noun (Sp. pron. lä-bōr′ ). In the quicksilver-mines of California, any place where work has been or is going on; especially, in the plural, those parts of the mine from which ore is being extracted in some quantity; workings.
  • noun Synonyms Toil, Drudgery, etc. (see work); effort, pains.
  • To make a physical or mental effort to accomplish some end; exert the powers of body or mind for the attainment of some result; work; strive. The word often implies painful or strenuous effort.
  • Specifically, to exert the muscular power of the body for the attainment of some end; engage in physical or manual toil.
  • To be burdened; be oppressed with difficulties; proceed or act with difficulty: used absolutely, or followed by under or (formerly) of.
  • To suffer the pangs of childbirth; be in travail.
  • To move forward heavily and with difficulty; specifically, of a ship, to roll and pitch heavily in a seaway, or in such a manner as to bring a dangerous strain upon the masts, rigging, and hull.
  • Synonyms To struggle, plod, drudge, slave, suffer.
  • To cause to work; exercise.
  • To work at; specifically, to till; cultivate.
  • To produce by labor; make or work out with effort; expend labor on; strive for.
  • To urge; labor with.
  • To beat; belabor.
  • noun A Mexican land-measure, equal to 177 acres.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To work at; to work; to till; to cultivate by toil.
  • transitive verb To form or fabricate with toil, exertion, or care.
  • transitive verb To prosecute, or perfect, with effort; to urge strenuously.
  • transitive verb obsolete To belabor; to beat.
  • noun Physical toil or bodily exertion, especially when fatiguing, irksome, or unavoidable, in distinction from sportive exercise; hard, muscular effort directed to some useful end, as agriculture, manufactures, and like; servile toil; exertion; work.
  • noun Intellectual exertion; mental effort.
  • noun That which requires hard work for its accomplishment; that which demands effort.
  • noun Travail; the pangs and efforts of childbirth.
  • noun Any pang or distress.
  • noun (Naut.) The pitching or tossing of a vessel which results in the straining of timbers and rigging.
  • noun A measure of land in Mexico and Texas, equivalent to an area of 1771/7 acres.

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, from Old French labour, from Latin labor.]

Examples

  • A scientific and technological revolution, which continues at an accelerating pace, has already largely accomplished the substitution of knowledge for physical labor as the principal force of production, and we live in the conditions which Marx, over a century ago, saw as the final outcome of capitalist production: 'The process of production has ceased to be a process of labor….

    Machines Without a Cause

  • Such labor and diligence also is required in them that rule, whilst they are charged to rule _with diligence_, Rom.xii. 8, which is as much as _with labor_: yea, the common charity of Christians hath its labor; and this very word

    The Divine Right of Church Government by Sundry Ministers Of Christ Within The City Of London

  • You charge upon abolitionists "_the purpose to create a pinching competition between black labor and white labor;" and add, that "on the supposition of abolition the black class, migrating into the free states, would enter into competition with the white class, diminishing the wages of their labor_."

    The Anti-Slavery Examiner, Omnibus

  • It is to be noted, that the apostle saith not, "Let the presbyters that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially because they labor in the word -- for then he should have pointed at the distinct offices of ministers;" but he saith, _especially they that labor_, which clearly carries the sense to the distinction of elders themselves, who have distinct employments.

    The Divine Right of Church Government by Sundry Ministers Of Christ Within The City Of London

  • Barbarians in old times, who knew nothing noble nor grand but war, despised labor, and left it to their slaves; so much so, that the name _servile labor_, _i. e._ the labor of slaves, has stuck to it in some places.

    The History of a Mouthful of Bread And its effect on the organization of men and animals

  • Countries, therefore, which do not enjoy these advantages, must gain by commerce with those which do; because the exchanges of commerce are between _labor and labor_, subtraction being made of all the natural advantages which are combined with these labors; and it is evidently the most favored countries which can incorporate into a given labor the largest proportion of these

    What Is Free Trade? An Adaptation of Frederic Bastiat's "Sophismes Éconimiques" Designed for the American Reader

  • Since you have laid claim to the _right to profit_, I claim the _right to labor_, or to the instruments of labor.

    Sophisms of the Protectionists

  • Countries therefore which do not enjoy these advantages, must gain by commerce with those which do; because the exchanges of commerce are between _labor and labor_; subtraction being made of all the natural advantages which are combined with these labors; and it is evidently the most favored countries which can incorporate into a given labor the largest proportion of these _natural advantages_.

    Sophisms of the Protectionists

  • The agriculture of these regions, as before observed, is a sort of commerce; and it is a species of employment in which labor seems to form an inconsiderable ingredient in the productive causes, since the portion of white labor is exceedingly small, and slave labor is rather more like profit on stock or capital than _labor_ properly so called.

    Select Speeches of Daniel Webster, 1817-1845

  • The second aspect of this problem is that, as a worker, you don't sell the results of your labor, you sell your _labor power_ (workers, or would-be workers, are people who don't have anything to sell than their labor power-most people haven't).

    P2P Foundation

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • A group of moles is called a labor.

    May 7, 2008

  • I've got a labor on my back that needs to be looked at by a doctor -- preferably not a quack.

    May 8, 2008

  • HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!

    May 8, 2008