noun tra·vail \trə-ˈvāl, ˈtra-ˌvāl\

: a difficult experience or situation

: painful or difficult work or effort

Full Definition of TRAVAIL

a :  work especially of a painful or laborious nature :  toil
b :  a physical or mental exertion or piece of work :  task, effort
c :  agony, torment

Examples of TRAVAIL

  1. They finally succeeded after many months of travail.
  2. <no greater travail than that of parents who have suffered the death of a child>

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


intransitive verb \same as 1; in prayer-book communion service usually ˈtra-ˌvāl\

Definition of TRAVAIL

:  to labor hard :  toil
:  labor 3

Examples of TRAVAIL

  1. <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

13th century


noun tra·vail \trə-ˈvā(ə)l, ˈtrav-ˌāl\   (Medical Dictionary)

Medical Definition of TRAVAIL


Next Word in the Dictionary: travatedPrevious Word in the Dictionary: travAll Words Near: travail
May 30, 2015
metadata Hear it
data about other data
Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears