Simple Definition of travail
: a difficult experience or situation
: painful or difficult work or effort
Examples of travail in a sentence
They finally succeeded after many months of travail.
<no greater travail than that of parents who have suffered the death of a child>
Did You Know?
Etymologists are pretty certain that travail comes from trepalium, the Late Latin name of an instrument of torture. We don't know exactly what a trepalium looked like, but the word's history gives us an idea. Trepalium is derived from the Latin tripalis, which means "having three stakes" (from tri-, meaning "three," and palus, meaning "stake"). From trepalium sprang the Anglo-French verb travailler, which originally meant "to torment" but eventually acquired the milder senses "to trouble" and "to journey." The Anglo-French noun travail was borrowed into English in the 13th century, followed about a century later by travel, another descendant of travailler.
Origin of travail
Middle English, from Anglo-French, from travailler to torment, labor, journey, from Vulgar Latin *trepaliare to torture, from Late Latin trepalium instrument of torture, from Latin tripalis having three stakes, from tri- + palus stake — more at pole
First Known Use: 13th century
Synonym Discussion of travail
work, employment, occupation, calling, pursuit, métier, business mean a specific sustained activity engaged in especially in earning one's living. work may apply to any purposeful activity whether remunerative or not <her work as a hospital volunteer>. employment implies work for which one has been engaged and is being paid by an employer <your employment with this firm is hereby terminated>. occupation implies work in which one engages regularly especially as a result of training <his occupation as a trained auto mechanic>. calling applies to an occupation viewed as a vocation or profession <the ministry seemed my true calling>. pursuit suggests a trade, profession, or avocation followed with zeal or steady interest <her family considered medicine the only proper pursuit>. métier implies a calling or pursuit for which one believes oneself to be especially fitted <acting was my one and only métier>. business suggests activity in commerce or the management of money and affairs <the business of managing a hotel>.
Rhymes with travail
abseil, airmail, all hail, assail, avail, bake sale, bangtail, blackmail, blacktail, bobtail, broadscale, broadtail, bucktail, bud scale, canaille, cattail, chain mail, coattail, cocktail, contrail, curtail, derail, detail, doornail, dovetail, downscale, ducktail, e-mail, entail, exhale, fan mail, fantail, female, fife rail, fire sale, fishtail, folktale, foresail, foxtail, fresh gale, full-scale, gapped scale, Glendale, gray scale, greenmail, guardrail, Hallel, handrail, hangnail, headsail, hightail, hobnail, horntail, horsetail, impale, inhale, junk mail, Longueuil, lugsail, mainsail, mare's tail, Mondale, moon snail, oxtail, pass-fail, percale, pigtail, pintail, pinwale, plate rail, pot ale, prevail, rattail, regale, resale, rescale, retail, right whale, ringtail, Sangreal, Scottsdale, sea kale, shavetail, shirttail, skysail, slop pail, small-scale, snail mail, soft hail, split rail, springtail, spritsail, square sail, staysail, strong gale, surveil, swordtail, taffrail, tag sale, telltale, third rail, thumbnail, timescale, toenail, topsail, trysail, unnail, unveil, upscale, ventail, voice mail, wage scale, wagtail, wassail, whiptail, white sale, whitetail, white whale, whole gale, wholesale, yard sale
Examples of travail in a sentence
<Labor Day is the day on which we recognize those men and women who daily travail with little appreciation or compensation.>
First Known Use of travail
Seen and Heard
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