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

This is an instantaneous launch window, and the mission will ferry 2.5 tons of supplies to the International Space Station, including materials to support 250 experiments on the orbiting laboratory. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "SpaceX launches 2.5 tons of cargo to the ISS, but … [Updated]," 5 Dec. 2018 While there are several systems capable of flying cargo and supplies to the orbiting laboratory, the Soyuz is the only vehicle able to fly people there. Seattle Times Staff, The Seattle Times, "Spokane astronaut reaches space station aboard Russian craft," 3 Dec. 2018 Its subsequent incarnations, from discreet accessories purveyor to high-fashion laboratory, are now on view in Gucci Garden, which opened in January and is part museum, part shop selling exclusive designs. J.s. Marcus, WSJ, "In a Struggling Italy, Florence Homes Enjoy a New Renaissance," 28 Nov. 2018 At that time, the robotic laboratory also detected other organic molecules in a rock-powder sample collected by its drill. Fox News, "Massive Mars discovery: Organic molecules 'fundamental to our search for life' found by NASA rover," 2 Oct. 2018 To figure out the answer, scientists captured five wild bonnethead sharks from the Florida Keys and placed them in an aquatic laboratory. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "There's an Omnivore Shark That Loves Eating Plants," 7 Sep. 2018 UT-Austin policy bans handguns from high-risk parts of campus such as laboratories with dangerous chemicals or areas dedicated to health care. Matthew Choi, star-telegram, "Guns chill free speech, UT Austin professors will argue at federal appeals court," 11 July 2018 Tests at Britain's defense research laboratory showed the pair was exposed to Novichok, the same type of nerve agent used to poison a former Russian spy and his daughter in Salisbury in March., "Woman exposed to same nerve agent used on ex-Russian spy in England dies; police open murder investigation," 9 July 2018 Now the girls want to test their theories outside their laboratory. Suzanne Baker, Naperville Sun, "Naperville girls have the poop on best pond-friendly lawn fertilizer," 3 July 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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Last Updated

9 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for laboratory

The first known use of laboratory was in 1592

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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, 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).


a nest or breeding place

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