Word of the Day

Thursday, March 09, 2000

travail

\truh-VAYL; TRAV-ayl\ , noun;
1.
Painful or arduous work; severe toil or exertion.
2.
Agony; anguish.
3.
The labor of childbirth
intransitive verb:
1.
To work very hard; to toil.
2.
To suffer the pangs of childbirth; to be in labor.
Quotes:
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
Origin:
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."
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