Martha Stewart Living Radio: The Radio Blog

Word of the Day: labor

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The work that labor connotes is unquestionably demanding. Originally labor could be mental or physical work, but it always involved significant stress, anguish, and pain. Modern French still evokes this with labour, which means “to plow.” Perhaps this hard past for labor will seem more believable alongside laborious. Studying science may not involve physical labor, but it’s done in a laboratory. The verb belabor embodies a different kind of work. Originally it was a verbal attack. Today belabor is speaking or acting deliberately.

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