moil

1 of 2

verb

moiled; moiling; moils

transitive verb

chiefly dialectal : to make wet or dirty

intransitive verb

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

moil

2 of 2

noun

1
: hard work : drudgery
2

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 examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'moil.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Verb

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

First Known Use

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Noun

1611, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

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Dictionary Entries Near moil

Cite this Entry

“Moil.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/moil. Accessed 22 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

moil

verb
ˈmȯi(ə)l
: to work hard : drudge
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