Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

labor

 - definition
 
 
 
Close

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Close

Thesaurus

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary entries. Click on the T button in an entry to review the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

more
noun American English pronunciation: labor /ˈleɪbər/
  1. 1
    [uncountable] all the workers in a particular country, industry, or company considered as a group

    the declining demand for labor in agriculture

    a plentiful supply of cheap labor

    skilled/unskilled labor:

    The demand for skilled labor in the building industry is high.

    casual labor:

    Hotel managers need skilled, helpful staff and can't afford to rely on casual labor.

    1. a.
      [uncountable] the organizations to which workers belong. or their leaders considered as a group

      a meeting between management and labor

      organized labor:

      The Republican-controlled Congress has reversed many of the laws that are critical to the survival of organized labor.

    2. b.
      [only before noun] relating to or involving workers

      a labor dispute

      labor costs:

      The company is passing its higher labor costs on to its customers.

      labor unrest:

      increasing labor unrest in the car industry

      labor relations (=relationships between employers and workers):

      The agreements were hailed as "a quantum leap for workers and future labor relations."

    See also  slave labor
  2. 2
    [uncountable] work

    the traditional division of labor between men and women in the home

    The price quoted includes the cost of all labor and materials.

    1. a.

      labor

      or

      labors

      [uncountable] formal work that involves effort, especially physical effort

      In return for his labors, he receives food and shelter.

  3. 3
    [singular/uncountable] the process by which a baby is pushed from its mother's body when she is giving birth to it
    in labor:

    She was in labor for six hours.

    go into labor:

    She went into labor early this morning.

    1. a.
      [only before noun] relating to a woman's labor when she is giving birth to a baby
      labor pains:

      My wife called to say that her labor pains had started.

phrase

hostile architecture

the design of buildings or public spaces in a way which discourages people from touching, climbing or sitting on them …

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

boots on the ground

a situation in which a country's armed forces are physically present in an area of conflict …

add a word

Blog

A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog