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[lab-ruh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee, lab-er-uh-; British luh-bor-uh-tuh-ree, -uh-tree] /ˈlæb rəˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i, ˈlæb ər ə-; British ləˈbɒr ə tə ri, -ə tri/
noun, plural laboratories.
a building, part of a building, or other place equipped to conduct scientific experiments, tests, investigations, etc., or to manufacture chemicals, medicines, or the like.
any place, situation, set of conditions, or the like, conducive to experimentation, investigation, observation, etc.; anything suggestive of a scientific laboratory.
serving a function in a laboratory.
relating to techniques of work in a laboratory:
laboratory methods; laboratory research.
Origin of laboratory
1595-1605; < Medieval Latin labōrātōrium workshop, equivalent to Latin labōrā(re) to labor + -tōrium -tory2
Related forms
laboratorial, adjective
laboratorially, adverb
laboratorian, noun
interlaboratory, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for laboratories
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The laboratories of the board of health prepare this antitoxin and supply it fresh for public use.

    A Civic Biology George William Hunter
  • There were no laboratories, for there was no experimentation.

  • Barns are laboratories, to be as much a part of the equipment of a college of agriculture as shops are of mechanic arts.

  • There were no libraries worthy of the name, no laboratories or observatories for research.

    Society Henry Kalloch Rowe
  • There are three kinds of glass most generally employed in laboratories.

    On Laboratory Arts Richard Threlfall
  • Outside, it was cold, but the laboratories were well heated by steam.

  • I'll have to get equipment from the laboratories before we start on those.

    The End of Time Wallace West
  • We are human, like the rest of our sex, if you catch us out of our laboratories.

    The Tyranny of the Dark Hamlin Garland
British Dictionary definitions for laboratories


/ləˈbɒrətərɪ; -trɪ; US ˈlæbrəˌtɔːrɪ/
noun (pl) -ries
  1. a building or room equipped for conducting scientific research or for teaching practical science
  2. (as modifier): laboratory equipment
a place where chemicals or medicines are manufactured
Often shortened to lab
Word Origin
C17: from Medieval Latin labōrātōrium workshop, from Latin labōrāre to labour
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 laboratories



c.1600, "building set apart for scientific experiments," from Medieval Latin laboratorium "a place for labor or work," from Latin laboratus, past participle of laborare "to work" (see labor (n.)). Figurative use by 1660s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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laboratories in Medicine

laboratory lab·o·ra·to·ry (lāb'rə-tôr'ē)

  1. A room or building equipped for scientific research.

  2. A place where drugs and chemicals are manufactured.

  3. A place for practice, observation, or testing.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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