Definitions

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

  • noun Something that binds, snares, or entangles one; an entrapment.
  • noun Archaic A net for trapping game.
  • intransitive verb To labor continuously; work strenuously.
  • intransitive verb To proceed with difficulty.
  • noun Exhausting labor or effort. synonym: work.
  • noun Archaic Strife; contention.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To pull about; tug; drag.
  • To harass; weary or exhaust by toil: often used reflexively (whence later, by omission of the reflexive pronoun, the intransitive use): sometimes with out.
  • To labor; work; till.
  • To work, especially for a considerable time, and with great or painful fatigue of body or mind; labor.
  • To move or travel with difficulty, weariness, or pain.
  • Synonyms To drudge, moil, strive. See the noun.
  • noun Confusion; turmoil; uproar; struggle; tussle.
  • noun Harassing labor; labor accompanied with fatigue and pain; exhausting effort.
  • noun A work accomplished; an achievement.
  • noun Synonyms Labor, Drudgery, etc. (see work, n.); effort, exertion, pains.
  • noun In the toils, ensnared; captured.
  • noun A net, snare, or gin; any web, cord, or thread spread for taking prey.

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

  • transitive verb obsolete To weary; to overlabor.
  • transitive verb rare To labor; to work; -- often with out.
  • noun A net or snare; any thread, web, or string spread for taking prey; -- usually in the plural.
  • noun Labor with pain and fatigue; labor that oppresses the body or mind, esp. the body.
  • intransitive verb To exert strength with pain and fatigue of body or mind, especially of the body, with efforts of some continuance or duration; to labor; to work.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun labour, work
  • noun trouble, strife
  • noun A net or snare; any thread, web, or string spread for taking prey; usually in the plural.
  • verb intransitive To labour; work.
  • verb intransitive To struggle.

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

  • noun productive work (especially physical work done for wages)
  • verb work hard

Etymologies

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

[French toile, cloth, from Old French teile, from Latin tēla, web; see teks- in Indo-European roots.]

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

[Middle English toilen, from Anglo-Norman toiler, to stir about, from Latin tudiculāre, from tudicula, a machine for bruising olives, diminutive of tudes, hammer.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English toilen, toylen, apparently a conflation of Anglo-Norman toiler ("to agitate, stir up, entangle") (compare Old Northern French toiller, touellier ("to agitate, stir"; of unknown origin)), and Middle English tilen, telien, teolien, tolen, tolien, tulien ("to till, work, labour"), from Old English tilian, telian, teolian, tiolian ("to exert oneself, toil, work, make, generate, strive after, try, endeavor, procure, obtain, gain, provide, tend, cherish, cultivate, till, plough, trade, traffic, aim at, aspire to, treat, cure") (compare Middle Dutch tuylen, teulen ("to till, work, labour")), from Proto-Germanic *tilōnan (“to strive, reach for, aim for, hurry”). Cognate with Scots tulyie ("to quarrel, flite, contend").

Examples

  • The fact is, the peon of Mexico, so far as liberty and a share in the happiness produced by his toil is concerned, is as much a slave as he ever was.

    Mexico's Army and Ours

  • Some are rich they have money enough for a thousand men all to themselves — and they live without occupation; others bow their backs in toil all their life, and they haven't a penny.

    Fomá Gordyéeff

  • A curse was laid upon them, it would seem, and they must work it out in toil and hardship.

    KEESH, SON OF KEESH

  • At the same time, critics, perhaps especially critics who are not themselves "creative" writers, ought more often to acknowledge that this toil is only compounded in the labor performed by poets and novelists.

    Principles of Literary Criticism

  • The best of nights and days of toil is that there comes a twilight in which fatigued eyes see clear.

    The Kempton-Wace Letters

  • BUT THEN, it happens, we make the cheesecake – all the ingredients come together and in the midst of toil is perfection!

    Writer Unboxed » Blog Archive » It’s all about the cheesecake

  • You know what that sum really means in toil and effort and work; work, here, there and everywhere on every farm right over this great country.

    Our Mission—Sound Public Finance

  • Work songs of all kinds sustained the rhythm of the hand in toil, while the mind escaped on the wing of romance.

    Folk Songs of French Canada

  • Therefore in addition to adequate wages, Labor demands a fair share of the profits resulting from the industry, its toil is aiding to develop.

    Brain, Brawn, Capital

  • The fact is, the peon of Mexico, so far as liberty and a share in the happiness produced by his toil is concerned, is as much a slave as he ever was.

    Mexico's Army and Ours

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