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In the act of birthing one's offspring. Come on, we've got to get to the hospital—Marisa's in labor! Can you believe she's already been in labor for 15 hours? What the heck am I supposed to do for a cat that's in labor?
induce labor in (someone)
To cause a pregnant woman to begin the birthing process. The doctors plan to induce labor in Alexis if she doesn’t start having contractions by Tuesday. We'll use Pitocin to induce labor in the patient.
labor at (something)
To work very hard or diligently to accomplish something. I've been laboring at my Ph.D. for nearly four years now. Pat's out back laboring at repainting the back wall.
labor away (at something)
To work very hard or diligently (to accomplish something). I've been laboring away at my Ph.D. for nearly four years now. Pat always spends his Saturdays laboring away in the back garden.
labor for (someone or something)
1. To work very hard or diligently on someone or something else's behalf. We have nearly 30 employees laboring for us at this company, and any decision we make will affect all of them as well! I labored for her political campaign for months, but the moment it was over I was brushed aside without so much as a fare thee well.
2. To work very hard or diligently in order to accomplish, achieve, or obtain something All of our volunteers labor for the betterment of people in need. The huge farming operation, which supplies states across the country, has been accused of forcing migrant workers to labor for only a few dollars an hour, far short of the national minimum wage.
labor of Hercules
A job, task, or activity that requires a huge amount of effort, energy, or physical strength. Sometimes used ironically or hyperbolically. But getting enough votes to pass the controversial legislation may prove to be a labor of Hercules. Sometimes it feels like finding a good burger that isn't the price of a sirloin steak is a labor of Hercules. It will be a labor of Hercules for them to dethrone the former champions in this year's Super Bowl, but they certainly have a shot.
labor of love
Work that is done for pleasure rather than money. Katherine spends all of her free time knitting baby clothes for her friends. It must be a labor of love.
labor over (something)
To put in a lot of time, energy, and effort to successfully accomplish or complete something. I've been laboring over this dissertation for months now. My wife likes to plan every minute of our vacation, laboring over the tiniest details.
labor the point
To talk about or emphasize something excessively and perhaps repetitively, usually to the extent that the listener becomes bored or annoyed. A: "I don't mean to labor the point, but I'm just worried that there won't be enough food at the party." B: "Yeah, we know, you've said that 10 times now." I'm only laboring the point because we still haven't reached a decision.
labor under (something)
To live, function, or operate while believing something or holding an assumption of some kind, especially something that is not or may not be true. We all labored under the assumption that we would be getting paid overtime, so we all nearly quit when we realized that wasn't the case These politicians want us all to labor under the notion that they're our friends, looking out for our interests first and foremost.
labor under the delusion of/that
To live, operate, or function with the unyielding belief in something, especially that which is fanciful, unrealistic, or untrue. Primarily heard in US. Jeremy's always labored under the delusion of being a great writer, even though he's never written more than a few crummy poems. No one likes paying taxes, but those who would call for them to be done away with altogether are laboring under the delusion that our society can function without them!
labor under the illusion of/that
To live, operate, or function with the unyielding belief in something, especially that which is fanciful, unrealistic, or untrue. Primarily heard in US. Jeremy's always labored under the illusion of being a great writer, even though he's never written more than a few crummy poems. No one likes paying taxes, but those who would call for them to be done away with altogether are laboring under the illusion that our society can function without them!
Hard, physical labor requiring one to bend over, especially that which would be done on a farm. My grandfather has a permanent hunch in his spine from the stoop labor he had to do throughout his life. Every summer we send the children to my brother's farm. It's good for them to get out of the city for a while and do a little bit of stoop labor.
the fruit of (one's) labors
The outcome or rewards of one's work or efforts. You worked hard this semester, and straight A's are the fruit of your labors. Please, have some fresh strawberries—they're the fruit of my labors in the garden.
the fruits of (one's) labor
The outcome or rewards of one's work or efforts. You worked hard this semester, and straight A's are the fruits of your labor. Please, have some fresh strawberries—they're the fruits of my labor in the garden.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
fruits of one's labor(s)
Fig. the results of one's work. We displayed the fruits of our labor at the county fair. What have you accomplished? Where is the fruit of your labors?
[of a woman] experiencing the pains and exertion of childbirth. Susan was in labor for nearly eight hours. As soon as she had been in labor for an hour, she went to the hospital.
induce labor in someone
to cause the onset of childbirth in a mother-to-be. They decided to induce labor in the mother-to-be. They decided not to induce labor in Alice.
labor at something
to work hard at something. He is laboring at his gardening and won't be back in the house until dinnertime. What are you laboring at so intensely?
labor for someone or something
to work on behalf of someone or something. I labored for them all day, and they didn't even thank me. I have labored for this cause for many years.
labor for something
to work in order to get something, such as money. I was laboring for a pittance, so I decided to get another job. I labor for the love of it.
labor of love
Fig. a task that is either unpaid or badly paid and that one does simply for one's own satisfaction or pleasure or to please someone whom one likes or loves. Jane made no money out of the biography she wrote. She was writing about the life of a friend and the book was a labor of love. Mary hates knitting, but she made a sweater for her boyfriend. What a labor of love.
labor over someone or something
to work hard on someone or something. The surgeon labored over the patient for four hours. I labored over this painting for months before I got it the way I wanted it.
labor under an assumption
Fig. to function or operate believing something; to go about living while assuming something [that may not be so]. I was laboring under the idea that we were going to share the profits equally. Are you laboring under the notion that you are going to be promoted?
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
labor of love
Work done for one's satisfaction rather than monetary reward. For example, The research took three years but it was a labor of love. This expression appears twice in the New Testament (Hebrews 6:10, Thessalonians 1:3), referring to those who do God's work as a labor of love. [c. 1600]
Back-bending manual work, especially farm work. For example, They had us picking peas all day, and that's too much stoop labor. [First half of 1900s]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
labor of love, a
Work done for the pleasure of accomplishment or from personal interest rather than for monetary reward or from a sense of duty; this book, for example. The phrase appears in two Epistles of St. Paul in the New Testament, one to the Hebrews (6:10) and the other to the Thessalonians (1:3), both referring to the faithful who do God’s work as a labor of love.
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
labor of Hercules
A very difficult task. When the Greek hero Hercules was driven mad because of the goddess Hera's jealousy, he murdered his children. As atonement for his crime, he was obliged to perform twelve demanding tasks, such as slaying or capturing dangerous beasts, obtaining various prized and well-guarded possessions, and cleaning a very dirty stable in just one day. Hercules succeeded and was granted immortality and the hand of the now-mollified Hera's daughter. If your boss gives you an impossible assignment, especially that must be completed in a short time, you could show off your classical education by referring to it as a labor of Hercules.
Endangered Phrases by Steven D. Price Copyright © 2011 by Steven D. Price