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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 laboratory
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The laboratory was on the Northern rim of the field, a ten-minute drive from the auditorium.

    The Second Voice Mann Rubin
  • Afterwards he obtained a post in the laboratory of a manufactory of dyes.

    The Secret Agent Joseph Conrad
  • Beside his furnace he had his laboratory at the foot of Bloody tower.

    Sir Walter Ralegh William Stebbing
  • For a long time it was his studio and kitchen, his laboratory and bedroom.

  • When all was said, the man of the laboratory won a barren victory.

    The Helpers Francis Lynde
British Dictionary definitions for laboratory


/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 laboratory

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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laboratory 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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