Printable Version
Pronunciation: lay-bêr Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, mass

Meaning: 1. Work for wages. 2. Difficult or exhausting work. 3. The process of childbirth. 4. The liberal political party in Britain and certain other countries (capitalized).

Notes: Keep in mind that today's is one of those words, like color-colour and favor-favour, spelled with a U outside the US (labour). The adjective is laborious everywhere. Liberals in some countries are referred to as the Labor Party or just Labor, since Liberals have historically worked for the rights of workers.

In Play: The first Monday in September was designated Labor Day by Congress in 1894 to divert the attention of the US labor movement away from the May Day demonstrations in Europe. These demonstrations were organized by socialist parties in support of the 8-hour workday. They began in Paris on May 1, 1890, and that day eventually became International Labor Day, celebrated throughout the rest of the industrialized world. The 8-hour workday became law under Roosevelt's New Deal in 1938 after most major manufacturers had adopted it. Today we continue to celebrate one of the most productive labor forces on Earth on Labor Day.

Word History: English labor is a perfect tracing of Latin labor "work", a word that remained labor "work, activity" in Spanish, and went on to become French labour "plowing" and Italian lavoro "work". The Latin noun underlies the verb laborare, visible in laboratorium "workplace", the source of laboratory. Elaborate comes from Latin elaborare "to work out", which was originally ex "out" + laborare "work". (All of us here at alphaDictionary wish all of you a happy and relaxing Labor Day with your family and friends.)

Dr. Goodword,

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