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How to pronounce travail (audio)


Monster Trucks in Space

Dictionary definition of travail

A difficult and painful experience or labor, often associated with physical or mental exertion.
"The explorer documented their travail as they crossed treacherous terrain."


Detailed meaning of travail

It can refer to a prolonged and arduous process, such as the travail of giving birth or the travail of building a house. The word 'travail' can also be used more broadly to describe any challenging or distressing situation or struggle, such as the travail of overcoming addiction or the travail of dealing with a difficult illness. The term 'travail' can evoke a sense of struggle and hardship, but also a sense of determination and perseverance in the face of adversity. The word is often used in a religious or philosophical context to describe the human condition as a struggle or a journey towards enlightenment or salvation, as in the phrase 'the travail of the soul'.

Example sentences containing travail

1. The artist's creative travail resulted in a masterpiece that took months to complete.
2. The construction workers endured the travail of building the skyscraper in extreme weather conditions.
3. Her academic travail paid off when she received a scholarship to her dream college.
4. The patient's journey through illness was a long and arduous travail.
5. The company faced financial travail during the economic recession.
6. The novel's protagonist experienced travail as they overcame life's challenges.

History and etymology of travail

The noun 'travail' has its origins in Old French, where it appeared as 'travail' or 'travailler,' meaning 'to toil' or 'to work.' This Old French term was derived from the Vulgar Latin word 'tripaliare,' which was related to 'tripalium,' an instrument of torture consisting of three stakes. The connection between labor and torture in the word's history is intriguing. Over time, 'travail' shifted from its literal meaning of physical labor to represent any difficult and painful experience or labor, whether it involved physical or mental exertion. Its etymology reflects the idea of struggle and hardship, akin to the challenging and often torturous nature of labor, making it an appropriate term for describing arduous or trying experiences.

Quiz: Find the meaning of travail

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Further usage examples of travail

1. The family's travail of moving to a new country was filled with both excitement and uncertainty.
2. The courtroom was filled with tension during the legal travail of the high-profile trial.
3. The artist's masterpiece was the product of years of creative travail and dedication.
4. The entrepreneur's journey was marked by the travail of building a successful startup.
5. The historical documentary explored the travail of early settlers in the new world.
6. The athlete's travail in training paid off when they won the championship.
7. The character's emotional travail was a central theme in the novel.
8. The organization's leaders navigated the travail of restructuring the company.
9. The labor union negotiated with management to alleviate the travail of workers.
10. The journey up the steep mountain was a physical travail that tested their endurance.
11. The musician's travail in composing the symphony resulted in a standing ovation.
12. The family's travail during the natural disaster brought them closer together.
13. The scientific team faced the travail of conducting complex experiments.
14. The entrepreneur's travail in launching a new product was rewarded with a successful launch.
15. The historical reenactment showcased the travail of pioneers during westward expansion.



ordeal, ease, comfort, pleasure


GRE 1 (Graduate Record Examination), Hurdles and Setbacks, Demanding and Challenging, Adversity and Obstacle, Determination and Tenacity, Endurance and Resilience, Hardship and Suffering

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