A Dictionary of the English Language
                        A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson
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Labour (noun)

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View Scan · View Transcription · from page 1160

Lábour. n.s. [labeur, French; labor, Latin.]

  1. The act of doing what requires a painful exertion of strength, or wearisome perseverance; pains; toil; travail; work.

    If I find her honest, I lose not my labour; if she be otherwise, it is labour well bestowed. Shakes. M. W. of Windsor.

    I sent to know your faith, lest the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain. 1 Thes. iii. 5.

  2. Work to be done.

    Being a labour of so great difficulty, the exact performance thereof we may rather wish than look for. Hooker.

                        You were wont to say,
    If you had been the wife of Hercules
    Six of his labours you'd have done, and sav'd
    Your husband so much sweat.
    Shakespeare's Coriolanus.

  3. Exercise; motion with some degree of violence.

    Moderate labour of the body conduces to the preservation of health, and curing many initial diseases; but the toil of the mind destroys health, and generates maladies. Harvey.

  4. Childbirth; travail.

    Sith of womens labours thou hast charge,
    and generation of goodly doest enlarge,
    Incline thy will to effect our wishful vow.
    Spens. Epith.

    Not knowing 'twas my labour, I complain
    Of sudden shootings, and of grinding pain;
    My throws come thicker, and my cries encreas'd,
    Which with her hand the conscious nurse suppress'd.
    Dryd.

    Not one woman of two hundred dies in labour. Graunt.

    His heart is in continual labour; it even travails with the obligation, and is in pangs 'till it be delivered. South's Serm.

Sources: The Bible - 1. Thessalonians (2) · Shakespeare's Coriolanus (80) · Dryden, John (788) · Graunt, John (10) · Harvey, Gideon (42) · Hooker, Richard (175) · Shakespeare's Merry Wives of Windsor (95) · South, Robert (158) · Spenser, Edmund (254)

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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Labour (noun)." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: November 5, 2012. http://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/?p=2892.


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