c.1300, "exertion of the body," from O.Fr. labour
), from L. laborem
) "toil, pain, exertion, fatigue, work," perhaps originally "tottering under a burden," related to labere
"to totter." The verb is c.1300, from M.Fr. labourer,
from L. laborare,
. The verb in modern Fr., Sp., Port. means "to plow;" the wider sense being taken by the equivalent of Eng. travail.
Meaning "body of laborers considered as a class" (usually contrasted to capitalists
) is from 1839. Sense of "physical exertions of childbirth" is 1595, from Fr. en travail
"in (childbirth) suffering" (see travail
). Labor Day
first marked 1882 in New York City.