Word of the Day Archive
Thursday March 9, 2000
travail \truh-VAYL; TRAV-ayl\
1. Painful or arduous work; severe toil or exertion.
2. Agony; anguish.
3. The labor of childbirth
1. To work very hard; to toil.
2. To suffer the pangs of childbirth; to be in labor.
For all his travails and tragedy, he remains boyishly delighted with all life has to offer.
-- F. Kathleen Foley, "Kron Returns With Spirited, Touching 'Ride' About Family", Los AngelesTimes, January 20, 2000
Every sport entails physical and mental travail, but the decathlon is a veritable factory of pain.
-- Rafer Johnson with Philip Goldberg, The Best That I Can Be
The author of the Book of Jeremiah, for example, notes the "cry of a woman in travail, the anguish of one bringing forth her first child, gasping for breath, stretching out her hands crying 'Woe is me!'"
-- Donald Caton, What a Blessing She Had Chloroform
Travail is from Old French traveillier, travaillier, from Vulgar Latin tripalium, "a three-staked instrument of torture," from Latin tripalis, "three-staked," from tri-, "three" + palus, "a stake."