1. Physical or mental exertion, especially when difficult or exhausting; work. See Synonyms at work.
2. A specific task or effort, especially a painful or arduous one: "Eating the bread was a labor I put myself through to quiet my stomach" (Gail Anderson-Dargatz).
3. A particular form of work or method of working: manual labor.
4. Work for wages: businesses paying more for labor.
a. Workers considered as a group.
b. The trade union movement, especially its officials.
6. Labor A political party representing workers' interests, especially in Great Britain.
7. 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.
v. la·bored, la·bor·ing, la·bors
1. To work; toil: labored in the fields.
2. To strive painstakingly: labored over the needlepoint.
a. To proceed with great effort; plod: labored up the hill.
b. Nautical To pitch and roll.
4. To suffer from distress or a disadvantage: labored under the misconception that others were cooperating.
5. To undergo the labor of childbirth.
1. To deal with in exhaustive or excessive detail; belabor: labor a point in the argument.
2. To distress; burden: I will not labor you with trivial matters.
1. Of or relating to labor.
2. Labor Of or relating to a Labor Party.
[Middle English, from Old French labour, from Latin labor.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.