A Dictionary of the English Language
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Labour (verb neuter)

View Scan · View Transcription · from pages 1161, 1160

View Scan · View Transcription · from pages 1161, 1160

To Labour. v.n. [laboro, Latin.]

  1. To toil; to act with painful effort.

    When shall I come to th' top of that same hill?
    — You do climb up it now; look how we labour.
    Shakes.

    For your highness' good I ever labour'd,
    More than mine own.
    Shakespeare's Hen. VIII.

                    Who is with him?
    — None but the fool, who labours to out-jest
    His heart-struck injuries.
    Shakespeare's K. Lear.

    Let more work be laid upon the men, that they may labour therein. Exod. v. 9.

  2. To do work; to take pains.

    Epaphras saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect. Col. iv. 12.

    A labouring man that is given to drunkenness shall not be rich. Ecclus. xix. 1.

    That in the night they may be a guard to us, and labour on the day. Neh. iv. 22.

    Yet is their no end of all his labours; neither saith he, for whom do I labour. Eccl. iv. 8.

    As a man had a right to all he could employ his labour upon, so he had no temptation to labour for more than he could make use of. Locke.

  3. To move with difficulty.

    The stone that labours up the hill,
    Mocking the labourer's toil, returning still,
    Is love.
    Granville.

  4. To be diseased with. [Morbo laborare, Latin.]

            They abound with horse,
    Of which one want our camp doth only labour,
    And I have found 'em coming.
    Ben. Johnson's Catiline.

    I was called to another, who in childbed laboured of an ulcer in her left hip. Wiseman.

  5. To be in distress; to be pressed.

    To this infernal lake the fury flies,
    Here hides her hated head, and frees the lab'ring skies.
    Dryd.

    Trumpets and drums shall fright her from the Throne,
    As sounding cymbals aid the lab'ring moon.
    Dryd. Aur.

    This exercise will call down the favour of heaven upon you, to remove those afflictions you now labour under from you. Wake's Preparation for Death.

  6. To be in child-birth; to be in travail.

    There lay a log unlighted on the earth,
    When she was lab'ring in the throws of birth;
    For th' unborn chief the fatal sisters came,
    And rais'd it up, and toss'd it on the flame.
    Dryd. Ovid.

    Here, like some furious prophet, Pindar rode,
    And seem'd to labour with th' inspiring God.
    Pope.

    He is so touch'd with the memory of her benevolence and protection, that his soul labours for an expression enough to represent it. Notes on the Odyssey.

Sources: The Bible - Colossians (3) · Dryden, John (788) · The Bible - Ecclesiastes (5) · The Bible - Ecclesiasticus (27) · The Bible - Exodus (25) · Granville, George (23) · Shakespeare's Henry VIII (62) · Jonson, Ben (70) · Shakespeare's King Lear (144) · Locke, John (269) · The Bible - Nehemiah (5) · Pope, Alexander (393) · Wake, William (7) · Wiseman, Richard (68)

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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Labour (verb neuter)." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: November 28, 2012. http://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/?p=2894.


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