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 Pfizer teamed with researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston for laboratory tests to see if the mutation affected its vaccine's ability to do so. The Associated Press,, "Pfizer study suggests coronavirus vaccine works against virus mutation," 8 Jan. 2021 Emily Leech, Monument Health’s director of laboratory services, said a community’s test positivity rate should ideally be below 5%. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, "Country venue blues, ice shanty dining, turkey sightings: News from around our 50 states," 5 Jan. 2021 Alphonso Coleman, 89, a laboratory assistant at the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health, died Oct. 19 at a hospital in Philadelphia. Washington Post, "Community deaths," 5 Jan. 2021 The Beijing team that arrived in Wuhan on the last day of 2019 was quickly informed about the laboratory results, Dr. Cao Bin, a member of the team, told a Chinese newspaper. New York Times, "25 Days That Changed the World: How Covid-19 Slipped China’s Grasp," 1 Jan. 2021 There are efforts afoot to try to figure out how widely the new variant is spreading — one of them led by Worobey’s laboratory. Helen Branswell, STAT, "With limited surveillance of Covid-19 variant, it’s déjà vu all over again," 31 Dec. 2020 Medicine had long relied on laboratory rabbits to screen for this danger: a sick rabbit meant a bad dose. Tim Prudente,, "How the coronavirus vaccine relies on Maryland’s strangest fishery: horseshoe crabs," 31 Dec. 2020 The tests are usually offered in partnership with a local laboratory or medical company, and for the most part are at the guest’s own expense. NBC News, "Newest amenity at hotels? Covid-19 test at check-in or before your flight," 31 Dec. 2020 Counties receive case results from a wide range of sources — among them the state’s electronic laboratory reporting system, individual labs, physicians’ offices, testing sites and more. Jared Weber, Dallas News, "Collin County’s data woes concern residents amid coronavirus spike," 20 Dec. 2020

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

20 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Laboratory.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for laboratory


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

Nglish: Translation of laboratory for Spanish Speakers

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

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