noun, often attributive
lab·​o·​ra·​to·​ry | \ ˈla-b(ə-)rə-ˌtȯr-ē How to pronounce laboratory (audio) , sometimes ˈla-bər-ˌtȯr- or ˈla-bə-ˌtȯr- or lə-ˈbȯr-ə-ˌtȯr- \
plural laboratories

Definition of laboratory

1a : a place equipped for experimental study in a science or for testing and analysis a research laboratory broadly : a place providing opportunity for experimentation, observation, or practice in a field of study
b : a place like a laboratory for testing, experimentation, or practice That area is a laboratory for cultivating the germ of terrorism.
2 : an academic period set aside for laboratory work a course of study requiring two lectures and one laboratory per week

Examples of laboratory in a Sentence

experiments conducted in a modern laboratory
Recent Examples on the Web The laboratory has been in operation since 2001, according to business records. NBC News, 14 Jan. 2022 Kevin Roth, a biopharmaceutical engineer who studied cannabis and is overseeing the building of the laboratory on the winery property, said there had been a shift from the stigmatization of marijuana after it was authorized for medical use. New York Times, 5 Jan. 2022 There are 1,113 people hospitalized with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 in the state and 74% are not fully vaccinated. Alex Putterman,, 29 Dec. 2021 The show follows Yeze and Tule when a freak laboratory accident turns the twin college students into superheroes. Joe Otterson, Variety, 9 Dec. 2021 Or, as some suspect, was the catastrophe the result of a laboratory accident in Wuhan, a city of eleven million people in central China? Carolyn Kormann, The New Yorker, 12 Oct. 2021 Consensus among top officials in the Biden administration has been that the pandemic originated in one of two ways: The virus emerged from human contact with an infected animal, or from a laboratory accident. Sasha Pezenik, ABC News, 25 Aug. 2021 Fauci tends to favor the hypothesis that the virus reached humans from animal hosts through natural means rather than from a laboratory accident, much less a deliberate release. Los Angeles Times, 8 June 2021 Besides, genetic manipulation is not the only scenario compatible with a laboratory accident or leak. Virginie Courtier, Quartz, 4 June 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'laboratory.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of laboratory

1592, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for laboratory

Medieval Latin laboratorium, from Latin laborare to labor, from labor

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Time Traveler for laboratory

Time Traveler

The first known use of laboratory was in 1592

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Dictionary Entries Near laboratory



laboratory school

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Statistics for laboratory

Last Updated

17 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Laboratory.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for laboratory



English Language Learners Definition of laboratory

: a room or building with special equipment for doing scientific experiments and tests


lab·​o·​ra·​to·​ry | \ ˈla-brə-ˌtȯr-ē How to pronounce laboratory (audio) , ˈla-bə-rə- \
plural laboratories

Kids Definition of laboratory

: a room or building in which scientific experiments and tests are done


noun, often attributive
lab·​o·​ra·​to·​ry | \ ˈlab-(ə-)rə-ˌtōr-ē, -ˌtȯr-, British usually lə-ˈbär-ə-t(ə-)rē \
plural laboratories

Medical Definition of laboratory

: a place equipped for experimental study in a science or for testing and analysis

More from Merriam-Webster on laboratory

Nglish: Translation of laboratory for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of laboratory for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about laboratory


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