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Related to toil: Double double toil and trouble

toil for someone

1. to work on behalf of someone or for someone's benefit. I don't mind toiling for her as long as she thanks me. I don't know why I toil for you. You are totally ungrateful.
2. to do someone else's work. I don't know why I should have to toil for you. Do your own work! I won't toil for him. He can do his own work.
See also: toil

toil for something

1. to work toward a particular goal or ideal. I am willing to toil for something I believe in. She spent the afternoon toiling for her favorite charity.
2. to work for a certain rate of pay. It's hard to toil for slave's wages. Do you expect me to toil endlessly for such low pay?
See also: toil

toil over someone or something

to work hard on someone or something. The doctors toiled over the patient for hours. Ken toiled over his model plane well into the night.
See also: toil

toil up something

to work hard to climb something steep. The hikers toiled up the slope slowly. As the bus toiled up the hill, we worried that the engine might be overheating.
See also: toil, up
References in classic literature ?
In the Custom-House, as before in the Old Manse, I had spent three years -- a term long enough to rest a weary brain: long enough to break off old intellectual habits, and make room for new ones: long enough, and too long, to have lived in an unnatural state, doing what was really of no advantage nor delight to any human being, and withholding myself from toil that would, at least, have stilled an unquiet impulse in me.
Some of the briefer articles, which contribute to make up the volume, have likewise been written since my involuntary withdrawal from the toils and honours of public life, and the remainder are gleaned from annuals and magazines, of such antique date, that they have gone round the circle, and come back to novelty again.
Then followed the frugal breakfast, when her commoner toil for the milliner succeeded.
And what a help and strength would it be to him in his lonely toil if he could gain the sympathy of the only being whom he loved
Then he held out the writing stick and Mauki just barely touched it with his hand, in so doing pledging himself to toil for three years on the plantations of the Moongleam Soap Company.
But the Ant went on its way and continued its toil.
He rises with the lark, passes the day in wholesome toil, and lies down at night to pleasant dreams.
Eighty cents--the equivalent of eight long hours of my toil at the machine, gone down our throats, and gone like that, in a twinkling, leaving only a bad taste in the mouth.
He did a great deal of translating for the magazines on scientific and philosophic subjects; and, coming home late at night, worn out from the strain of the campaign, he would plunge into his translating and toil on well into the morning hours.
Thus the years passed, as Burns himself says, in the "cheerless gloom of a hermit, with the unceasing toil of a galley-slave.
And as in thatched hives bees feed the drones whose nature is to do mischief -- by day and throughout the day until the sun goes down the bees are busy and lay the white combs, while the drones stay at home in the covered skeps and reap the toil of others into their own bellies -- even so Zeus who thunders on high made women to be an evil to mortal men, with a nature to do evil.
But it was then that the unexpected happened, the thing which projected their struggle for supremacy far into the future, past many a weary mile of trail and toil.
To reap and bind the rye and oats and to carry it, to mow the meadows, turn over the fallows, thrash the seed and sow the winter corn--all this seems so simple and ordinary; but to succeed in getting through it all everyone in the village, from the old man to the young child, must toil incessantly for three or four weeks, three times as hard as usual, living on rye-beer, onions, and black bread, thrashing and carrying the sheaves at night, and not giving more than two or three hours in the twenty-four to sleep.
Who shall conceive the horrors of my secret toil as I dabbled among the unhallowed damps of the grave or tortured the living animal to animate the lifeless clay?
It is the waterside of watersides, where only one aspect of the world's life can be seen, and only one kind of men toils on the edge of the stream.