• enPR: trəˈvāl, IPA: /tɹəˈveɪl/

travail (plural travails)

  1. (literary) Arduous or painful exertion; excessive labor, suffering, hardship. [from 13th c.]
    • 1597, Richard Hooker, Of the Lawes of Ecclesiastical Politie, Book V, §21:
      But as every thing of price, so this doth require travail.
    • 1603, Michel de Montaigne, chapter 20, in John Florio, transl., The Essayes, […], book II, printed at London: By Val[entine] Simmes for Edward Blount […], OCLC 946730821 ↗:
      Travell and pleasure, most unlike in nature, are notwithstanding followed together by a kind of I wot not what natural conjunction […].
    • 1936, Djuna Barnes, Nightwood, Faber & Faber 2007, p. 38:
      He had thought of making a destiny for himself, through laborious and untiring travail.
  2. Specifically, the labor of childbirth. [from 13th c.]
    • 1607–08, William Shakespeare (?), Pericles, Prince of Tyre, Act III, Chorus:
      The lady shrieks and, well-a-near,
      Does fall in travail with her fear.
    • 1611, King James Version, Genesis 38:27–28:
      And it came to pass in the time of her travail, that, behold, twins were in her womb. And it came to pass, when she travailed, that the one put out his hand: and the midwife took and bound upon his hand a scarlet thread, saying, This came out first,
  3. (obsolete, countable) An act of working; labor (US), labour (British). [14th-18th c.]
  4. (obsolete) The eclipse of a celestial object. [17th c.]
  5. Obsolete form of travel#English|travel.
  6. Alternative form of travois#English|travois (“a kind of sled”)
Translations Translations Verb

travail (travails, present participle travailing; past and past participle travailed)

  1. To toil.
    • 1552, Hugh Latimer, "Fourth Sermon on the Lord's Prayer, Preached before Lady Katherine, Duchess of Suffolk":
      [A]ll slothful persons, which will not travail for their livings, do the will of the devil.
    • 1611, King James Version, Job 15:20:
      The wicked man travaileth with pain all his days, and the number of years is hidden to the oppressor.
  2. To go through the labor of childbirth.
    • 1526, William Tyndale, trans. Bible, John XIV:
      A woman when she traveyleth hath sorowe, be cause her houre is come: but as sone as she is delivered off her chylde she remembreth no moare her anguysshe, for ioye that a man is borne in to the worlde.
Translations Translations
  • French: être en travail, être en couches

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