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toil for (someone or something)

1. To work continually and very strenuously for the benefit of someone else. I spent the summer toiling for my neighbor in order to save up for a new bike. I decided to start my own business so I wouldn't have to spend another day toiling for anyone else.
2. To work continually and very strenuously in order to accomplish or achieve something. The marginalized group has spent the last 20 years toiling for equality. Congratulations, everyone. We've all toiled long and hard for this day.
3. To work continually and very strenuously in return for something. The new farmhand toils for a place to sleep at night and three meals a day. He won't accept payment of any kind. I'm done toiling for just seven bucks an hour at this lousy restaurant.
See also: for, toil

toil over (someone or something)

1. To work continually, diligently, and strenuously to complete something. I've been toiling over this project for weeks now, and it still feels like it's never going to be done.
2. Of a surgeon, to spend long, continuous hours operating on a patient. Our team toiled over him for nearly six hours, but in the end we weren't able to save his life. I'm so sorry.
See also: over, toil

toil up (something)

To climb something with great, prolonged, and continuous effort. We toiled up the mountain, hoping to reach the peak before noon. The crew will have to park down below and toil up the hill with all of their equipment.
See also: toil, up
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
And since John XXIII, the church has argued that agricultural laborers and sweatshop employees toiling in the basement of our global village have these same rights.
Monturiol, a "card-carrying, utopian communist," according to Stewart, hoped to make the oceans safe for all working-class people toiling there.
Toiling away in the information technology field--and rapidly approaching 30--Neal had an epiphany: "I said, 'I'm not doing what I want to do.
"It is going to accompanied by very little inflation; exceptionally low interest rates and a striking surge in productivity." The productivity comes at the cost of less workers working harder and longer hours, who are toiling daily for less money.
Since that's the hiring (and promotion) criteria these days, consider this question: If many of your star managers focus on thinking outside the box and independently rather than toiling as conventional team players, isn't there a danger that nobody is supporting the box and it just may collapse?
The portraits of women attending social gatherings, school-children sitting inside a clapboard school-house, a couple slow-dancing next to a jukebox, and workers toiling in cotton fields reveal the enormous burden of life for blacks in America and yet its quotidian rituals.
As Get Real cried enough four out Function Dream and Cenkos took over and began to draw clear of their toiling rivals.
Britain's Chris Boardman finished 151st, toiling some 40 minutes behind the stage winner.
A staff cafeteria, gym and employees' club occupy the top floor, to which salarymen can retreat when not toiling loyally in their regimented open-plan offices below.
Somewhere in the chilly bowels of an Oxbridge University library, some earnest double major in visual arts and sociology must be toiling over a thesis titled "Billy Elliot's Indian Soul Sister: Class, Gender Expectation, and Disapproving Daddies in 21stCentury England."
And, in case anyone was wondering, no, the great pyramid that DeMille's toiling Egyptian serfs so laboriously constructed has nothing like this in its center.
Portugal left Holland toiling in Group Two with a 2-0 triumph in Amsterdam.
What many don't know is that the Kelli Petersons have been toiling to transcend the rule of the fearful for nearly as long.
A coming-out movie about two Midwestern nigh school friends who spend the summer of 1984 toiling at a restaurant--under the watchful eye of Lea DeLaria.