Definition of labour noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    (especially US English labor) noun
    BrE BrE//ˈleɪbə(r)//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈleɪbər//
    Pay and conditions at work, Manufacturing, Birth
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  1. 1  [uncountable] work, especially physical work manual labour (= work using your hands) The price will include the labour and materials. The company wants to keep down labour costs. The workers voted to withdraw their labour (= to stop work as a means of protest). He was sentenced to two years in a labour camp (= a type of prison where people have to do hard physical work). see also child labour See related entries: Manufacturing
  2. 2[countable, usually plural] (formal) a task or period of work He was so exhausted from the day's labours that he went straight to bed. People look forward to enjoying the fruits of their labours during retirement.
  3. people who work
  4. 3  [uncountable] the people who work or are available for work in a country or company a shortage of labour Employers are using immigrants as cheap labour. Repairs involve skilled labour, which can be expensive. good labour relations (= the relationship between workers and employers) Wordfindercapacity, industry, just-in-time, labour, lead time, output, raw material, shipping, supply chain, warehouse Wordfinderballot, closed shop, collective bargaining, industrial action, labour, picket, protest, representative, strike, union See related entries: Pay and conditions at work
  5. having baby
  6. 4[uncountable, countable, usually singular] the period of time or the process of giving birth to a baby Jane was in labour for ten hours. She went into labour early. labour pains It was a difficult labour. Older women tend to have more difficult labours. Wordfinderbirth, breech birth, caesarean, contraction, deliver, induce, labour, midwife, obstetrics, umbilical cord See related entries: Birth
  7. politics
  8. 5 Labour [singular + singular or plural verb] (abbreviation Lab.) the British Labour Party He always votes Labour. Labour was/were in power for many years.
  9. Word OriginMiddle English: from Old French labour (noun), labourer (verb), both from Latin labor ‘toil, trouble’.Extra examples He was sentenced to four years hard labour for his crime. It is now thought that the Pyramids were not built using slave labour. It is thought that Stonehenge was built using slave labour. Labour was induced when the baby was ten days overdue. She was in labour for ten hours. She went into labour two weeks early. The baby was born after a long labour. The miners are threatening to withdraw their labour. an increasingly competitive labour market tensions between the labour movement and government the size of the labour force women at risk of preterm labour He was sentenced to two years in a labour camp. The company wants to keep down labour costs. These women were generally accustomed to hard manual labour.Idioms a hard task that you do because you want to, not because it is necessary Writing the book was a labour of love.