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-, British usually lə-ˈbär-ə-t(ə-)rē How to pronounce laboratory (audio) \
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 Filiberto’s team recreated the highly volatile atmospheric conditions found on Venus’s surface in a laboratory to test how quickly the atmosphere degrades minerals, such as olivine, found in lava. Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics, "Looks Like Venus Was Volcanically Active All Along," 3 Jan. 2020 Only in laboratories can samples be closely examined with electron microscopes and other advanced instruments. Chris Woodyard, USA TODAY, "'Are we alone in the universe?' NASA's 2020 Mars rover, a $2.5B robotic astronaut, is being built to help us find out," 31 Dec. 2019 This kind of therapy uses substances made by the body, or in a laboratory, to improve or restore the immune system. Julie Washington, cleveland, "Have you tried immunotherapy to treat cancer? Calling All Readers," 24 Dec. 2019 A few years ago, researchers at the University of Barcelona in Spain grew hairless, bloodless horse skin in a laboratory, suggesting that lab-grown donkey skin might be feasible. Christa Lesté-lasserre, Science | AAAS, "Chinese trade in hides has led to global donkey massacre," 12 Dec. 2019 These products are grown in a laboratory from the cells of real animals. Barbara Quinn,, "Meat substitutes," 22 Nov. 2019 Initial testing indicated an elevated presence of benzyl chloride in a laboratory, the school said. Doha Madani, NBC News, "Two chemistry professors arrested for allegedly making meth at Arkansas university," 17 Nov. 2019 Even if the core proteins of a rodent can be manipulated in a laboratory to speed up internal clock adjustment, a fast-acting pill that can do the same for frequent fliers is a ways off, Partch said. Angus Whitley, Los Angeles Times, "Human guinea pigs prepare for the world’s longest direct flight: 20 hours," 15 Oct. 2019 At least one of the experiments—intended to determine if the use of testosterone cream would trigger a positive doping test—was conducted in a laboratory at Nike’s headquarters, according to documents released Monday night. Fortune, "Nike CEO Mark Parker Knew of Company-Linked Doping Experiments, U.S. Anti-Doping Agency Says," 1 Oct. 2019

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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Statistics for laboratory

Last Updated

21 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Laboratory.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 21 January 2020.

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More Definitions for laboratory


How to pronounce laboratory (audio) How to pronounce laboratory (audio)

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on laboratory

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with laboratory

Spanish Central: Translation of laboratory

Nglish: Translation of laboratory for Spanish Speakers

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

Comments on laboratory

What made you want to look up laboratory? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


good-natured easy friendliness

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