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



BrE BrE//ˈtræveɪl//
; NAmE NAmE//ˈtræveɪl//
; BrE BrE//trəˈveɪl//
; NAmE NAmE//trəˈveɪl//
[uncountable, plural] (old use or literary)
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an unpleasant experience or situation that involves a lot of hard work, difficulties and/or suffering the travails of life in post-war Britain Word OriginMiddle English: via Old French from medieval Latin trepalium ‘instrument of torture’, from Latin tres ‘three’ + palus ‘stake’.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: travail