What does labour mean?

Definitions for labour
ˈleɪ bərlabour

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word labour.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. labor, labour, working class, proletariatnoun

    a social class comprising those who do manual labor or work for wages

    "there is a shortage of skilled labor in this field"

  2. parturiency, labor, labour, confinement, lying-in, travail, childbednoun

    concluding state of pregnancy; from the onset of contractions to the birth of a child

    "she was in labor for six hours"

  3. British Labour Party, Labour Party, Labour, Labornoun

    a political party formed in Great Britain in 1900; characterized by the promotion of labor's interests and formerly the socialization of key industries

  4. labor, labour, toilverb

    productive work (especially physical work done for wages)

    "his labor did not require a great deal of skill"

  5. labor, labour, toil, fag, travail, grind, drudge, dig, moilverb

    work hard

    "She was digging away at her math homework"; "Lexicographers drudge all day long"

  6. tug, labor, labour, push, driveverb

    strive and make an effort to reach a goal

    "She tugged for years to make a decent living"; "We have to push a little to make the deadline!"; "She is driving away at her doctoral thesis"

  7. labor, labourverb

    undergo the efforts of childbirth


  1. labournoun

    Effort expended on a particular task; toil, work.

  2. labournoun

    Workers in general; the working class, the workforce; sometimes specifically the labour movement, organised labour.

  3. labournoun

    A political party or force aiming or claiming to represent the interests of labour.

  4. labournoun

    The act of a mother giving birth

  5. labournoun

    The time period during which a mother gives birth.

  6. labourverb

    To toil, to work.

  7. labourverb

    To belabour, to emphasise or expand upon (a point in a debate, etc).

    I think we've all got the idea. There's no need to labour the point.

  8. Labournoun

    Short for the Labour Party.

  9. Etymology: From labouren, from laborer, from laborare, from labor; perhaps remotely akin to robur.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. LABOURnoun

    Etymology: labeur, French; labor, Latin.

    If I find her honest, I lose not my labour; if she be otherwise, it is labour well bestowed. William Shakespeare, M. W. of Windsor.

    I sent to know your faith, lest the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain. 1 Thes. iii. 5.

    Being a labour of so great difficulty, the exact performance thereof we may rather wish than look for. Richard Hooker.

    You were wont to say,
    If you had been the wife of Hercules
    Six of his labours you’d have done, and sav’d
    Your husband so much sweat. William Shakespeare, Coriolanus.

    Moderate labour of the body conduces to the preservation of health, and curing many initial diseases; but the toil of the mind destroys health, and generates maladies. Gideon Harvey.

    Sith of womens labours thou hast charge,
    And generation goodly doest enlarge,
    Incline thy will to effect our wishful vow. Edmund Spenser, Epith.

    Not knowing ’twas my labour, I complain
    Of sudden shootings, and of grinding pain;
    My throws come thicker, and my cries encreas’d,
    Which with her hand the conscious nurse suppress’d. Dryd.

    Not one woman of two hundred dies in labour. John Graunt.

    His heart is in continual labour; it even travails with the obligation, and is in pangs ’till it be delivered. Robert South, Serm.

  2. To Labourverb

    To use brevity, and avoid much labouring of the work, is to be granted to him that will make an abridgment. 2 Mac.

    The matter of the ceremonies had wrought, for the most part, only upon light-headed, weak men, whose satisfaction was not to be laboured for. Edward Hyde.

    The pains of famish’d Tantalus shall feel,
    And Sisyphus that labours up the hill,
    The rowling rock in vain, and curst Ixion’s wheel. Dryd.

    Had you requir’d my helpful hand,
    Th’ artificer and art you might command,
    To labour arms for Troy. John Dryden, Æneis.

    An eager desire to know something concerning him, has occasioned mankind to labour the point under these disadvantages, and turn on all hands to see if there were any thing left which might have the least appearance of information. Alexander Pope, Essay on Homer.

    Take, shepherd, take a plant of stubborn oak,
    And labour him with many a sturdy stroak. John Dryden, Virg.

  3. To Labourverb

    Etymology: laboro, Latin.

    When shall I come to th’ top of that same hill?
    —— You do climb up it now; look how we labour. William Shakespeare.

    For your highness’ good I ever labour’d,
    More than mine own. William Shakespeare, Hen. VIII.

    Who is with him?
    —— None but the fool, who labours to out-jest
    His heart-struck injuries. William Shakespeare, K. Lear.

    Let more work be laid upon the men, that they may labour therein. Exod. v. 9.

    Epaphras saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect. Col. iv. 12.

    A labouring man that is given to drunkenness shall not be rich. Ecclus. xix. 1.

    That in the night they may be a guard to us, and labour on the day. Neh. iv. 22.

    Yet is there no end of all his labours; neither saith he, for whom do I labour. Eccl. iv. 8.

    As a man had a right to all he could employ his labour upon, so he had no temptation to labour for more than he could make use of. John Locke.

    The stone that labours up the hill,
    Mocking the labourer’s toil, returning still,
    Is love. George Granville.

    They abound with horse,
    Of which one want our camp doth only labour,
    And I have found ’em coming. Ben Jonson, Catiline.

    I was called to another, who in childbed laboured of an ulcer in her left hip. Richard Wiseman.

    To this infernal lake the fury flies,
    Here hides her hated head, and frees the lab’ring skies. Dryd.

    Trumpets and drums shall fright her from the Throne,
    As sounding cymbals aid the lab’ring moon. John Dryden, Aur.

    This exercise will call down the favour of heaven upon you, to remove those afflictions you now labour under from you. William Wake, Preparation for Death.

    There lay a log unlighted on the earth,
    When she was lab’ring in the throws of birth;
    For th’ unborn chief the fatal sisters came,
    And rais’d it up, and toss’d it on the flame. John Dryden, Ovid.

    Here, like some furious prophet, Pindar rode,
    And seem’d to labour with th’ inspiring God. Alexander Pope.

    He is so touch’d with the memory of her benevolence and protection, that his soul labours for an expression enough to represent it. Notes on the Odyssey.


  1. labour

    Labour refers to the human effort, either physical or mental, that is applied in the production of goods and services within an economy. This can include work performed by employees, self-employed persons, entrepreneurs, as well as unpaid workers such as volunteers or interns. The term can also refer to the total amount of such work available or needed within a specific industry or economic system.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Labour

    lā′bur, n. toil or exertion, esp. when fatiguing: work: pains: duties: a task requiring hard work: the pangs of childbirth.—v.i. to undergo labour: to work: to take pains: to be oppressed: to move slowly: to be in travail: (naut.) to pitch and roll heavily.—adj. Labō′rious, full of labour: toilsome: wearisome: devoted to labour: industrious.—adv. Labō′riously.—n. Labō′riousness.—adj. Lā′boured, bearing marks of labour or effort in the execution.—ns. Lā′bourer, one who labours: one who does work requiring little skill; Lā′bourist, one who contends for the interests of workmen.—adjs. Lā′bour-sav′ing, intended to supersede or lessen the labour of men; Lā′boursome (Shak.), made with labour and diligence.—Labour Day, a legal holiday in some parts of the United States, as in New York (the first Monday in September); Labour market, the supply of unemployed labour in relation to the demand for it; Labour of love, work undertaken merely as an act of friendliness, and without hope of emolument; Labour with, to take pains to convince.—Hard labour, compulsory work imposed on certain criminals in addition to imprisonment. [O. Fr. labour, labeur—L. labor.]

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. labour

    In the relative mechanical efforts of the human body labouring in various posture, 682-1/3 have been given for the rowing effort, 476 for the effort at a winch, and 209-1/3 for the effort at a pump.

Suggested Resources

  1. labour

    Song lyrics by labour -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by labour on the Lyrics.com website.

  2. Labour

    Labour vs. Labor -- In this Grammar.com article you will learn the differences between the words Labour and Labor.

  3. Labour

    Labor vs. Labour -- In this Grammar.com article you will learn the differences between the words Labor and Labour.

Surnames Frequency by Census Records


    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Labour is ranked #136449 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Labour surname appeared 123 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 0 would have the surname Labour.

    70.7% or 87 total occurrences were White.
    28.4% or 35 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.

Matched Categories

British National Corpus

  1. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'labour' in Nouns Frequency: #300

  2. Adjectives Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'labour' in Adjectives Frequency: #86

How to pronounce labour?

How to say labour in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of labour in Chaldean Numerology is: 3

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of labour in Pythagorean Numerology is: 6

Examples of labour in a Sentence

  1. Rupert Murdoch:

    Failure to win majority against either (Gordon) Brown in crisis or (Labour leader Ed) Miliband would mean chop for Cameron. Open talk today in party and press.

  2. Park Tae-ju:

    Sometimes a labour union should make concessions to drive changes, such as boosting flexibility in production. But with a weak support base, the current leadership can't push ahead with such changes.

  3. Adam Smith:

    A person who can acquire no property, can have no other interest but to eat as much, and to labour as little as possible. Whatever work he does beyond what is sufficient to purchase his own maintenance can be squeezed out of him by violence only, and not by any interest of his own.

  4. Nicola Sturgeon:

    He sounded as if he was saying that he would rather see David Cameron and the Conservatives back in government than actually work with the SNP, if he means that then I don't think people in Scotland will ever forgive Labour for allowing the Conservatives to get back into office.

  5. Olivier Jankovec:

    The trend of decreasing freight traffic is hard to ignore. It reflects weakening economic data and contraction forces at play, not just in Europe but around the world. These will ultimately translate into lower passenger demand, adding to that, volatile oil prices, labour cost pressures and more consolidation should also lead airlines to be more cautious with capacity expansion. So pressures on passenger traffic are likely to come both from the demand and supply sides in 2019.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for labour

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • عملArabic
  • трудBulgarian
  • porodní bolesti, dělnictvo, porod, pracovní síly, námaha, práceCzech
  • llafur, gweithwyr, gwaithWelsh
  • gebären, arbeiten, Arbeiter, ArbeitGerman
  • εργάζομαι, εργατικό δυναμικό, εργατικοί, εργασία, ωδίνες τοκετού, δουλειά, κοπιάζω, εργατικό κόμμα, μόχθος, τοκετός, κόπος, δουλεύω, γέννα, μοχθώGreek
  • trabajar, trabajadores, parto, trabajo, campesinosSpanish
  • synnytys, ahertaa, raataa, aherrus, työvoima, työläisetFinnish
  • travailler, travail, ouvrage, accouchementFrench
  • saothar, obairIrish
  • saothairScottish Gaelic
  • לידהHebrew
  • काम करनाHindi
  • munkásság, munka, szülésHungarian
  • ծննդաբերություն, երկունք, աշխատել, աշխատանքArmenian
  • lavoranti, lavoratori, lavoro, lavorare, partoItalian
  • 働く, 労働Japanese
  • 로동, 일하다, 勞動, 노동Korean
  • taimahi, whānau, taunahua, whānautangaMāori
  • praca, pracować, poródPolish
  • trabalhar, parto, trabalho, mão-de-obraPortuguese
  • lavurRomansh
  • muncă, muncitori, lucrătoriRomanian
  • рабочий, труд, работать, роды, рабочий класс, трудитьсяRussian
  • arbetskraft, arbete, arbetaSwedish
  • కార్మికులు, శ్రమ, ప్రసవంTelugu
  • کام کرناUrdu
  • lao động, 勞動Vietnamese
  • קימפּעטYiddish

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"labour." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 15 Apr. 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/labour>.

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    an utterance expressing pain or disapproval
    A moan
    B observe
    C inspire
    D aggravate

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