Quick Summary

The Latin root word labor means “work.” This Latin root is the word origin of a “working” number of English vocabulary words, including collaborate, labor itself, and elaborate. The root labor is easily recalled via the word laboratory, for that is where scientists do their “work.”

Working with "Labor"

The Latin root word labor means “work.” Hopefully it won’t take too much “work” or be too laborious to “work” out what this root word means!

When one does a lot of labor, ones does a lot of “work.” Indeed, Labor Day is all about giving laborers a day off from “work,” as well as commemorating all the achievements that their labor has brought to fruition. Hopefully no one’s Labor Day is laborious or filled with “work,” but rather is relaxing and refreshing.

Scientists do a great deal of their “work” in a room known as a laboratory, or lab for short. Scientists who “work” together in their various laboratories collaborate, giving each other their respective help and expertise to solve a problem of some kind. Scientists often must elaborate or “work” out what they are doing research on because the problems are so complex or elaborate, such as the intricacies of cancer.

No discussion of labor would be complete without discussing the Twelve Labors of Hercules, or twelve “tasks” he had to do. If you think you had a hard day at “work,” just imagine trying to take down a nine-headed serpent, the Hydra, or wrestling Cerberus, the three-headed dog—just another day at “work” for Hercules! Only after completing ten more daunting labors could Hercules finally rest!

So as not to belabor the point, or “work” it a little too hard, I think the “work” that we have done is sufficient to ensure recalling what labor is all about!

  1. labor: “work”
  2. laborer: one who “works”
  3. laborious: filled with “work”
  4. laboratory: place where scientists “work”
  5. lab: short for laboratory
  6. collaborate: to “work” together
  7. elaborate: to “work” out a puzzle or problem
  8. elaborate: of something fully “worked” out
  9. belabor: to “work” out ad nauseam


  • belabor

    If you belabor a point, you keep emphasizing an idea or fact repeatedly in a way that is annoying.

  • laborious

    A laborious job or process takes a long time, requires a lot of effort, and is often boring.

  • collaborate

    When people collaborate, they work together, usually to solve some problem or issue.

  • labor

    To labor is to work at something that is usually difficult.

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