Is it ensure, insure, or assure?


[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.
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.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for toiling
  • Lost will be the romantic specter of solitary astronomers toiling nights on frigid mountain tops, but much will be gained as well.
  • Nearly every house is a castle built on steeples of rock, and every farmer toiling in his field has a rifle strapped to his back.
  • He was toiling along with short oars, and the dory tossed and sank and tossed again with the steamer's waves.
  • And so on to the end of the long register, all toiling together in the galling fetters of the tenement.
  • Instead of toiling at a crabbed text and then thinking over its significance, readers now could think unimpeded as they read.
  • Contingent faculty are toiling at low pay to subsidize the security of tenured professors who don't necessarily do a better job.
  • Think about that when you catch yourself toiling toward some mythical standard of perfection.
  • There's the couple, both hoping to be independent writers, perfunctorily toiling away at their day jobs until they make it big.
  • It also offered a tangible reward to citizens toiling in the pressure-cooker atmosphere of an economic boom.
  • Presidents acquire obligations to people who spend years toiling for them in the wilderness.
British Dictionary definitions for toiling


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
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for toiling



"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
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for toil

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for toiling

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with toiling

Nearby words for toiling