9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[toil] /tɔɪl/
hard and continuous work; exhausting labor or effort.
a laborious task.
Archaic. battle; strife; struggle.
verb (used without object)
to engage in hard and continuous work; labor arduously:
to toil in the fields.
to move or travel with difficulty, weariness, or pain.
verb (used with object)
to accomplish or produce by toil.
Origin of toil1
1250-1300; Middle English toile (noun), toilen (v.) < Anglo-French toil contention, toiler to contend < Latin tudiculāre to stir up, beat, verbal derivative of tudicula machine for crushing olives, equivalent to tudi- (stem of tundere to beat) + -cula -cule2
Related forms
toiler, noun
untoiling, adjective
1. exertion, travail, pains. See work. 4. strive, moil.
1. indolence, sloth. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for toiled
  • Wired caught up with the director as he toiled in postproduction.
  • Some toiled as individuals while others functioned in groups of two, three, four or five.
  • Learn about the people who toiled over the pharaohs' tombs, and browse an online gallery of images.
  • Nineteen divers toiled for three months in water so turbid that they had to work more by touch than sight.
  • They stopped to eat their meager lunches amid the piles of dirt where they had toiled.
  • They dug trenches, carried ammunition, toiled in docks and railway yards or worked in arms factories.
  • Still the other toiled on, resting neither by night nor by day, that the sister might not want.
  • No one could have toiled harder than he for immortality.
  • For two days the one who went off toiled on with weary weakness through the snow-drifts.
  • There the lanky playwright toiled for six weeks on a sunrise-to-sunset schedule and erected a work shack.
British Dictionary definitions for toiled


hard or exhausting work
an obsolete word for strife
(intransitive) to labour
(intransitive) to progress with slow painful movements: to toil up a hill
(transitive) (archaic) to achieve by toil
Derived Forms
toiler, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Anglo-French toiler to struggle, from Old French toeillier to confuse, from Latin tudiculāre to stir, from tudicula machine for bruising olives, from tudes a hammer, from tundere to beat


(often pl) a net or snare: the toils of fortune had ensnared him
(archaic) a trap for wild beasts
Word Origin
C16: from Old French toile, from Latin tēla loom
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for toiled



"hard work," c.1300, "turmoil, contention, dispute," from Anglo-French toil (13c.), from toiler "agitate, stir up, entangle," from Old French toeillier "drag about, make dirty" (12c.), usually said to be from Latin tudiculare "crush with a small hammer," from tudicula "mill for crushing olives, instrument for crushing," from root of tundere "to pound" (see obtuse). Sense of "hard work, labor" (1590s) is from the related verb (see toil (v.)).

"net, snare," 1520s, from Middle French toile "hunting net, cloth, web" (cf. toile d'araignée "cobweb"), from Old French teile, from Latin tela "web, woven stuff," related to texere "to weave" (see texture). Now used largely in plural (caught in the toils of the law).


c.1300, toilen, "pull at, tug;" late 14c. as "struggle, work, labor," from Anglo-French tuailler, Old French toellier (see toil (n.1)). Related: Toiled; toiling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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