noun (1)
\ ˈtȯi(-ə)l How to pronounce toil (audio) \

Definition of toil

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : long strenuous fatiguing labor
2 archaic
b : laborious effort


toiled; toiling; toils

Definition of toil (Entry 2 of 3)

intransitive verb

1 : to work hard and long
2 : to proceed with laborious effort : plod

transitive verb

1 archaic : overwork
2 archaic : to get or accomplish with great effort


noun (2)

Definition of toil (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : a net to trap game
2 : something by which one is held fast or inextricably involved : snare, trap usually used in plural caught in the toils of the law

Other Words from toil

Noun (1)

toilful \ ˈtȯi(-​ə)l-​fəl How to pronounce toil (audio) \ adjective
toilfully \ ˈtȯi(-​ə)l-​fə-​lē How to pronounce toil (audio) \ adverb


toiler \ ˈtȯi-​lər How to pronounce toil (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for toil

Noun (1)

work, labor, travail, toil, drudgery, grind mean activity involving effort or exertion. work may imply activity of body, of mind, of a machine, or of a natural force. too tired to do any work labor applies to physical or intellectual work involving great and often strenuous exertion. farmers demanding fair compensation for their labor travail is bookish for labor involving pain or suffering. years of travail were lost when the house burned toil implies prolonged and fatiguing labor. his lot would be years of back-breaking toil drudgery suggests dull and irksome labor. an editorial job with a good deal of drudgery grind implies labor exhausting to mind or body. the grind of the assembly line

Examples of toil in a Sentence

Verb workers toiling in the fields They were toiling up a steep hill.

First Known Use of toil

Noun (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2


15th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Noun (2)

circa 1529, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for toil

Noun (1)

Middle English toile, from Anglo-French toyl, from toiller


Middle English, to argue, struggle, from Anglo-French toiller to make dirty, fight, wrangle, from Latin tudiculare to crush, grind, from tudicula machine for crushing olives, diminutive of tudes hammer; akin to Latin tundere to beat — more at contusion

Noun (2)

Middle French toile cloth, net, from Old French teile, Latin tela cloth on a loom — more at subtle

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Time Traveler for toil

Time Traveler

The first known use of toil was in the 14th century

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Cite this Entry

“Toil.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for toil


\ ˈtȯil How to pronounce toil (audio) \

Kids Definition of toil

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: long hard labor


toiled; toiling

Kids Definition of toil (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to work hard and long
2 : to go on with effort They were toiling up a steep hill.

More from Merriam-Webster on toil

Nglish: Translation of toil for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of toil for Arabic Speakers


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