hard labor


: compulsory labor of imprisoned criminals as a part of the prison discipline

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Sidima Ganjana, 23, who is from a township in the winelands, also grew up thinking the only thing the wine industry offered Black people like him was hard labor. John Eligon, New York Times, 7 Oct. 2022 There was a lot of work to do on the frontier, and the enslaved African Americans did most of the hard labor. Dallas News, 12 Apr. 2022 Construction is therapeutic in many ways: the hard labor, the feel of wood and metal, the cuts and calluses, the heft and roar of power tools. Nick Heil, Outside Online, 16 Oct. 2020 Shengkai kept studying even after the Cultural Revolution sent him, and other intellectuals like him, to learn the value of hard labor in rural villages. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune Crypto, 10 Apr. 2023 But rather than pursue a path of hard labor on tobacco or cattle farms, Jabesi dreamed of a different life. Alexandra Sternlicht, Fortune, 8 Apr. 2023 With its fast-acting formula, OxiClean White Revive ensures that your clothes look their best without having to put in a lot of hard labor. Amber Smith, Discover Magazine, 4 Apr. 2023 In the complex world of Islamic slavery, most Muslim enslaved people came into bondage through violence and were doomed to lives of hard labor at great distances from home, but a discrete number rose to professional positions, as Said’s father had done. Martha Anne Toll, Washington Post, 30 Mar. 2023 His sentence was 18 months of hard labor. Longreads, 6 July 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'hard labor.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1651, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of hard labor was in 1651

Dictionary Entries Near hard labor

Cite this Entry

“Hard labor.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hard%20labor. Accessed 1 Jun. 2023.

Legal Definition

hard labor

: compulsory labor imposed upon prisoners as part of a sentence or as prison discipline
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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