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

  • adj. Marked by or requiring long, hard work: spent many laborious hours on the project.
  • adj. Hard-working; industrious.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Requiring much physical effort; toilsome.
  • adj. Mentally difficult; painstaking
  • adj. Industrious.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Requiring labor, perseverance, or sacrifices; toilsome; tiresome.
  • adj. Devoted to labor; diligent; industrious.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Requiring much labor, exertion, or perseverance; toilsome; not easy: as, laborious duties; a laborious undertaking.
  • Using exertion; practising labor; diligent in work or service; assiduous: as, a laborious husbandman or mechanic; a laborious minister or pastor.
  • Characterized by labor or effort; marked by or manifesting labor.
  • Synonyms Difficult arduous, wearisome, fatiguing, onerous.
  • Industrious, painstaking, active, hard-working.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. characterized by effort to the point of exhaustion; especially physical effort


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

Middle English, from Old French laborieux, from Latin labōriōsus, from labor, labor.



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  • "Now, comrades, what is the nature of this life of ours? Let us face it, our lives are miserable, laborious and short. We are born, we are given just so much food as will keep the breath in our bodies, and those of us who are capable of it are forced to work to the last atom of our strength; and the very instant that our usefulness has come to an end we are slaughtered with hideous cruelty. No animal in England knows the meaning of happiness or leisure after he is a year old. No animal in England is free. The life of an animal is misery and slavery: that is the plain truth."

    - George Orwell, 'Animal Farm'.

    November 24, 2008