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[ley-buh l] /ˈleɪ bəl/
a slip of paper, cloth, or other material, marked or inscribed, for attachment to something to indicate its manufacturer, nature, ownership, destination, etc.
a short word or phrase descriptive of a person, group, intellectual movement, etc.
a word or phrase indicating that what follows belongs in a particular category or classification: The following definition has the label “Archit.”.
Architecture. a molding or dripstone over a door or window, especially one that extends horizontally across the top of the opening and vertically downward for a certain distance at the sides.
a brand or trademark, especially of a manufacturer of phonograph records, tape cassettes, etc.:
She records under a new label.
the manufacturer using such a label:
a major label that has produced some of the best recordings of the year.
Heraldry. a narrow horizontal strip with a number of downward extensions of rectangular or dovetail form, usually placed in chief as the cadency mark of an eldest son.
Obsolete. a strip or narrow piece of anything.
verb (used with object), labeled, labeling or (especially British) labelled, labelling.
to affix a label to; mark with a label.
to designate or describe by or on a label:
The bottle was labeled poison.
to put in a certain class; classify.
Also, radiolabel. Chemistry. to incorporate a radioactive or heavy isotope into (a molecule) in order to make traceable.
Origin of label
1275-1325; Middle English < Middle French: ribbon, perhaps < Germanic. See lap1
Related forms
labeler, noun
nonlabeling, adjective, noun
nonlabelling, adjective, noun
prelabel, noun, verb (used with object), prelabeled, prelabeling or (especially British) prelabelled, prelabelling.
relabel, verb (used with object), relabeled, relabeling or (especially British) relabelled, relabelling.
unlabeled, adjective
unlabelled, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for labelled
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Each plant is labelled with a pottery marker, swallow-shaped, bearing in ineradicable colors the flower name and its significance.

    Old-Time Gardens Alice Morse Earle
  • If one specimen on a plate is not as labelled, the whole plate is disqualified.

    The Apple-Tree L. H. Bailey
  • The first was labelled "Repos Pacificque," and represented by means of seven personages an acrostic on the royal name of Charles.

    The Story of Rouen Sir Theodore Andrea Cook
  • Each package was labelled, a score or more having the name of Saint Anthony.

    Villegagnon W.H.G. Kingston
  • It is returning to Elizabethan days, when Managers called a spade a spade, and then so labelled it to prevent mistakes.

  • The piano was labelled Chappell, but it might just as well have been labelled Bill Bailey.

    Nights in London Thomas Burke
  • The overview is labelled "Wide fertile Valley with but little Timber."

    Huntley Tony P. Wrenn
  • The five lowest levels were underground and all were labelled "Mineral Industries."

    City of Endless Night Milo Hastings
British Dictionary definitions for labelled


a piece of paper, card, or other material attached to an object to identify it or give instructions or details concerning its ownership, use, nature, destination, etc; tag
a brief descriptive phrase or term given to a person, group, school of thought, etc: the label "Romantic" is applied to many different kinds of poetry
a word or phrase heading a piece of text to indicate or summarize its contents
a trademark or company or brand name on certain goods, esp, formerly, on gramophone records
another name for dripstone (sense 2)
(heraldry) a charge consisting of a horizontal line across the chief of a shield with three or more pendants: the charge of an eldest son
(computing) a group of characters, such as a number or a word, appended to a particular statement in a program to allow its unique identification
(chem) a radioactive element used in a compound to trace the mechanism of a chemical reaction
verb (transitive) -bels, -belling, -belled (US) -bels, -beling, -beled
to fasten a label to
to mark with a label
to describe or classify in a word or phrase: to label someone a liar
to make (one or more atoms in a compound) radioactive, for use in determining the mechanism of a reaction
Derived Forms
labeller, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old French, from Germanic; compare Old High German lappa rag
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for labelled



c.1300, "narrow band or strip of cloth" (oldest use is as a technical term in heraldry), from Old French label, lambel "ribbon, fringe worn on clothes" (13c., Modern French lambeau "strip, rag, shred, tatter"), possibly from Frankish *labba or some other Germanic source (cf. Old High German lappa "flap"), from Proto-Germanic *lapp- (see lap (n.)).

Later "dangling strip of cloth or ribbon used as an ornament in dress," "strip attached to a document to hold a seal" (both early 15c.), and with a general meaning "tag, sticker, slip of paper" (1670s). Meaning "circular piece of paper in the center of a gramophone record" (1907), containing information about the recorded music, led to meaning "a recording company" (1947).


"to affix a label to," c.1600, see label (n.); figurative sense of "to categorize" is from 1853. Related: Labeled; labeling; labelled; labelling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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labelled in Science
See tracer.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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