\ ˈmȯi(-ə)l How to pronounce moil (audio) \
moiled; moiling; moils

Definition of moil

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

chiefly dialectal : to make wet or dirty

intransitive verb

1 : to work hard : drudge
2 : to be in continuous agitation : churn, swirl



Definition of moil (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : hard work : drudgery

Other Words from moil


moiler noun

Did you know?


Moil may mean "to work hard" but its origins are the opposite of hard; it ultimately derives from Latin mollis, meaning "soft." (Other English derivatives of mollis are emollient, mollify, and mollusk.) A more immediate ancestor of moil is the Anglo-French verb moiller, meaning "to make wet, dampen," and one of the early meanings of moil in English was "to become wet and muddy." The "work hard" sense of moil appears most frequently in the pairing "toil and moil." Both moil and toil can also be nouns meaning "work." Moil implies work that is drudgery and toil suggests prolonged and fatiguing labor.

Examples of moil in a Sentence

Verb miners moiling all day in the sunless recesses of the earth the angry mob moiled around the courthouse Noun went for a retreat at the monastery for a temporary respite from the moil of the modern world fed up with the moil and moneygrubbing of Wall Street, he decided to open a bed-and-breakfast in Vermont
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The delight of online life gave way to its moil, and the pleasure of online services has been eroded by their many downsides, from compulsion to autocracy. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, 24 Feb. 2020 During the Cold War, hot tensions became hopeless moils, conducted for political benefit as much as (and, over time, more than) moral right. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, 5 Jan. 2020

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

First Known Use of moil


15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense


1611, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for moil


Middle English mollen, moillen, from Anglo-French moiller, from Vulgar Latin *molliare, from Latin mollis soft — more at mollify

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The first known use of moil was in the 15th century

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Cite this Entry

“Moil.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

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