travail was our Word of the Day on 04/08/2015. Hear the podcast!
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Examples of travail in a Sentence
They finally succeeded after many months of travail.
no greater travail than that of parents who have suffered the death of a child
Recent Examples of travail from the Web
For Bloom, a single mother, the anger roiling in her son and his eventual outbursts of violence were just the latest in a litany of personal travails dating to her own youth.
One week into 2015, the newlywed told her Twitter followers about the travails of choosing her photos.
Is the Netflix original film Burning Sands, about the torturous travails of fraternity hazing, actually original?
His travels and travails take him all over Los Angeles and put him in contact with a range of eccentric, annoying folks.
Landline foregrounds Dana’s romantic travails, but none of these characters get short shrift.
The play centers on the travails of Dr. Mara Lowe-Cumbre (Deborah L. Sherman), a senior research fellow at the Florida State Center for Climate Studies.
The episode is reminiscent of the travails of Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey, another awkward tech nerd turned opinionated billionaire.
But Homecoming is breaking from the five previous Spidey movies by focusing more on the travails of being a teenager than battling the supervillain du jour.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'travail.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
Etymologists are pretty certain that travail comes from trepalium, the Late Latin name of an instrument of torture. We don't know exactly what a trepalium looked like, but the word's history gives us an idea. Trepalium is derived from the Latin tripalis, which means "having three stakes" (from tri-, meaning "three," and palus, meaning "stake"). From trepalium sprang the Anglo-French verb travailler, which originally meant "to torment" but eventually acquired the milder senses "to trouble" and "to journey." The Anglo-French noun travail was borrowed into English in the 13th century, followed about a century later by travel, another descendant of travailler.
Origin and Etymology of travail
First Known Use: 13th centurySee Words from the same year
Synonymsaffliction, agony, anguish, excruciation, hurt, misery, pain, rack, strait (s), torment, torture, distress, tribulation, woe
Related Wordsdiscomfort; cross, crucible, trial; heartache, heartbreak, joylessness, sadness, sorrow, unhappiness; emergency, pinch; asperity, difficulty, hardship, rigor; ache, pang, smarting, soreness, stitch, throe, twinge; danger, jeopardy, trouble
Near Antonymscomfort, consolation, solace; alleviation, assuagement, ease, relief; peace, security; well-being
Synonym Discussion of travail
- too tired to do any work
- farmers demanding fair compensation for their labor
- years of travail were lost when the house burned
- his lot would be years of back-breaking toil
- an editorial job with a good deal of drudgery
- the grind of the assembly line
Examples of travail in a Sentence
Labor Day is the day on which we recognize those men and women who daily travail with little appreciation or compensation.
First Known Use of travail
Synonymsbang away, beaver (away), dig (away), drudge, endeavor, fag, grub, hump, hustle, moil, peg (away), plod, plow, plug, slave, slog, strain, strive, struggle, sweat, toil, labor, tug, work
Related Wordsapply (oneself), buckle (down), dig in, hammer (away), knuckle down, pitch in; attack, drive; essay, try; exercise, exert, overexert, overwork; eke out, grind (out), put out, scrabble, scratch; trudge, wade
Near Antonymsbreak, ease (up), let up, slacken; bum, chill, dally, dillydally, footle, goldbrick, goof (off), hack (around), hang (around or out), idle, laze, loaf, lounge, shirk, slack (off), veg out; bask, loll, relax, repose, rest, unwind; dabble, doodle, fool around, fribble, goof (around), hang, hang about [British], mess around, monkey (around), play, potter (around), putter (around), trifle
TRAVAIL Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of travail for English Language Learners
: a difficult experience or situation
: painful or difficult work or effort
Seen and Heard
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