labour - definition and synonyms


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  1. 1
    [uncountable] economics the workers in a particular country, industry, or company considered as a group

    the declining demand for labour in agriculture

    a plentiful supply of cheap labour

    skilled/unskilled labour:

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

    casual labour (=people who are not employed regularly):

    Hotel managers need skilled staff and can’t afford to rely on casual labour.

    1. a.
      the organizations to which workers belong, or their leaders, considered as a group

      a meeting between management and labour

      organized labour:

      In the 1960s the strength of organized labour was becoming more apparent.

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

      a labour dispute

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

  2. 2
    [uncountable] work

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

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

    1. a.




      work, especially hard physical work

      In return for his labours, 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
    go into labour:

    She went into labour early this morning.

    be in labour:

    His wife was in labour for six hours.

    1. a.
      [only before noun] relating to a woman’s labour when she is giving birth to a baby

      labour pains

      a labour ward