Toil (Verb and noun)

[intransitive always + adverb/preposition]
1 also toil away to work very hard for a long period of time synonym: slave  

  • I’ve been toiling away at this essay all weekend.
2 literary to move slowly and with great effort

toil up/through/along etc

They toiled slowly up the hill.
at, up, through, along
  • He went past the dustbins and began toiling up the stairs.
  • In other words, three generations might take a family from hard toil through private education to gilt-edged respectability.


[uncountable] formal
1 hard unpleasant work done over a long period:

a life of toil
2 the toils of something literary if you are caught in the toils of an unpleasant feeling or situation, you are trapped by it.
  • When we wake it is to find ourselves alone and separate, trapped in the toils of matter.

  • With one bound, he was … John Major has escaped the toils of the poll tax.

  • Yet lured they were, ever deeper into the toils of matter, and women with them too.


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