Definition of labour in English:

labour

Line breaks: la¦bour
Pronunciation: /ˈleɪbə
 
/
(US labor)

noun

[mass noun]
1Work, especially physical work: the price of repairs includes labour, parts, and VAT manual labour
More example sentences
  • The majority of migrant workers earn their living in the city by doing manual labour.
  • The men go off and look for casual labour during the day while women and children spend the day looking for shade.
  • These subjects were agricultural workers with varying periods of manual labour in the field.
Synonyms
work, toil, employment, exertion, industry, industriousness, toiling, hard work, hard labour, drudgery, effort, the sweat of one's brow, donkey work, menial work
British informal graft
archaic travail, moil
task, job, chore, undertaking, mission, commission, assignment
1.1Workers, especially manual workers, considered collectively: non-union casual labour
More example sentences
  • Today there is a growing acceptance of illegal casual labour and a strong demand for it.
  • In this society, his job was one of the few, in which people exactly performed manual labor.
  • It also aims to replace a number of full-time workers with casual and part-time labour.
Synonyms
1.2Workers considered as a social class or political force: [as modifier]: the labour movement
More example sentences
  • Fourth, the working class and labour movement, repressed, shackled, lacking independence, was no alternative.
  • Steelworkers Canadian director Ken Neumann said the merger creates a new force in the Canadian labour movement, as well as in federal and provincial politics.
  • But turning labour into a political force to be reckoned with in Alberta is a tall order, which McGowan clearly outlined in his paper.
1.3 [as modifier] (Labour) A government department concerned with a nation’s workforce: the Labour Secretary
More example sentences
  • This was announced at the end of last week by the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy.
2 (Labour) [treated as singular or plural] The Labour Party: [as modifier]: the Labour leader
More example sentences
  • They seem to think that the way to beat Labour is to be more Leftist than Labour!
  • South Swindon has a new Member of Parliament but the seat is still held by Labour.
  • Teresa Page was a hard-working councillor and Labour will be sad to see her go.
3The process of childbirth from the start of uterine contractions to delivery: a woman in labour
More example sentences
  • They also received 300 mg every three hours while in labor until delivery.
  • Both Lamaze and Bradley encourage partner participation in labor and delivery.
  • The drug prostaglandin is injected into the womb and this causes it to contract strongly as in labour.
Synonyms
contractions, labour pains, labour pangs, labour throes
technical parturition

verb

[no object] Back to top  
1Work hard; make great effort: they laboured from dawn to dusk she was patiently labouring over her sketchbooks
More example sentences
  • At 51, she breathes with real difficulty, wheezing and labouring to draw breath as we talk.
  • And like Mr Sherry, Mr Hillier has laboured for many years and has likewise produced three heavy volumes, the last of which is about to see the light of day in the bookshops.
  • In this atmosphere, the House of Representatives has labored hard.
Synonyms
1.1Work at an unskilled manual occupation: he was eking out an existence by labouring (as adjective labouring) the labouring classes
More example sentences
  • And she actively fought for the most dispossessed of that class, those who labored in the nation's fields.
  • On Saturday, John Paul slept in his old bed, visited his old street and drove by the quarry, no longer used, where he laboured during the Nazi occupation of Poland.
  • Forsaking the books, it was pick and shovel for a year of manual labouring for the young David.
1.2 [with object] archaic Till (the ground): the land belonged to him who laboured it
2Have difficulty in doing something despite working hard: United laboured against confident opponents
More example sentences
  • The home side struggled to overcome Edinburgh, but despite labouring for long periods the grit of the Irish forwards eventually saw them through.
  • He was laden with a heavy old radio and was labouring to keep up.
  • There had been a failure specifically to identify favourable material, but that was attributed to the difficulties under which the applicant has been labouring by reason of having been detained.
Synonyms
strive, struggle, endeavour, work, try hard, make every effort, do one's best, do one's utmost, do all one can, give (it/something) one's all, go all out, fight, push, be at pains, put oneself out, apply oneself, exert oneself
2.1 [with adverbial of direction] Move or proceed with difficulty: they laboured up a steep, tortuous track
More example sentences
  • Our taxis, which had labored up the narrow, winding road, descended much more swiftly.
  • She labored up to the stoop, red face partially hidden by brown paper bags.
  • In the terrible heat, the fugitives labored up a tomb-lined slope toward Nuceria.
2.2(Of an engine) work noisily and with difficulty: the wheels churned, the engine labouring
More example sentences
  • He felt the engine laboring, gathering speed slowly, the breakdown lane narrowing rapidly ahead.
  • She turned on her radar detector and slid up to a hundred and five, riding easily, her huge engine hardly laboring as she raced through the night.
  • The engines labored to push the bulky ship off the side of the building and into the air.
2.3(Of a ship) roll or pitch heavily: (as adjective labouring) occasionally the labouring ship spat the caulking from some underwater seam
More example sentences
  • The waves were strong, The Heart of Isis laboured heavily and the men were tested sorely, but by nightfall they had cleared the island without finding safe harbor.

Origin

Middle English: from Old French labour (noun), labourer (verb), both from Latin labor 'toil, trouble'.

Phrases

a labour of Hercules

a labour of love

A task done for pleasure, not reward: he spent eight years rebuilding the house—a labour of love
More example sentences
  • You're right, it was a labor of love.
  • These and the other films scheduled have all been labours of love.
  • Since I usually get paid by the word (except for labours of love, of course, like this review), I'm all in favour of that.

labour the point

Explain or discuss something at excessive length.
More example sentences
  • The council labours the point that the benchmark return for a company is the ‘risk-free’ return shareholders could earn on their investment.
  • In my own writings, I have always laboured the point that beer can be used in many different ways: as a marinade, in braising, sauces, batters, doughs, and so forth.
  • If I am labouring the point it is for a reason.
Synonyms
overemphasize, belabour, overstress, place/lay too much emphasis on, overdo, strain, over-elaborate, overplay, attach too much importance/weight to, make too much of, exaggerate, dwell on, harp on (about), expound on, expand

Phrasal verbs

labour under

1Carry (a very heavy load) with difficulty: two servants appeared, labouring under the weight of a kitchen table
2Be misled by (a mistaken belief): you’ve been labouring under a misapprehension
More example sentences
  • I'm always open to listening to new artists, labouring under the belief that all artists were at some point new and that they had to be given their fair shake.
  • I think they are laboring under the belief that the state has put up everything they've got to show, that Amber's the icing on the cake.
  • I was marginally shocked when they sat down beside me; I was still labouring under the belief that guys were way too cool to sit cross - legged, especially on the grass.
Synonyms
suffer from, be a victim of, be burdened by, be overburdened by, be disadvantaged by, be under

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