noun, often attributive
lab·o·ra·to·ry | \ˈla-b(ə-)rə-ˌtȯr-ē, sometimes ˈla-bər-ˌtȯr- or ˈla-bə-ˌtȯr- or lə-ˈbȯr-ə-ˌtȯr-, British usually lə-ˈbär-ə-t(ə-)rē \
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

Doctors swapped their traditional black coats for white ones, similar to those worn by scientists in laboratories. The Economist, "Making medical clothing that kills bugs," 28 June 2018 Seeing chimps that had spent their entire lives in medical laboratories have the opportunity to socialize with other chimps, utilize large habitats, climb trees and express normal chimp behaviors, touched my heart. Rick Kogan,, "Lincoln Park Zoo partners with Chimp Haven — a place where chimps can get out of their lab cages and live free," 21 June 2018 The method, with modifications, is still used in laboratories today. Aaron Gilbreath, Longreads, "We Are Scientists," 5 June 2018 In the past year, the percentage of Kaiser’s insurance enrollees who used its online prescription refill, scheduling and laboratory-result tools climbed, as did use of secure emails between Kaiser and its patients. Melanie Evans, WSJ, "Kaiser Permanente Cultivates the Digital Doctor-Patient Relationship," 28 May 2018 The declaration came after laboratory results confirmed two cases of the disease in the province of Bikoro. Susan Scutti, CNN, "Ebola outbreak declared in Democratic Republic of Congo," 8 May 2018 Wake Forest Baptist said last week that up to 10 patients were affected by pathology laboratory results and required a diagnosis change. charlotteobserver, "Patients thought they had cancer based on NC hospital’s lab results. They were wrong. | Charlotte Observer," 22 Mar. 2018 The legislation will authorize the Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) to create new research centers at universities, federal laboratories, and nonprofit research institutes, according to a committee spokesperson. Gabriel Popkin, Science | AAAS, "Updated: Quantum physics gets attention—and brighter funding prospects—in Congress," 27 June 2018 Animals escape from zoos, farms, laboratories, and even odder locales, such as nativity scenes or assisted-living facilities, all the time. Longreads, "Wild At Heart," 17 May 2018

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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Phrases Related to laboratory

lab/laboratory rat

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Statistics for laboratory

Last Updated

14 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for laboratory

The first known use of laboratory was in 1592

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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, 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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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).


evasion of direct action or statement

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