Dictionary: L – LAB'OR-A-TO-RY

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THE twelfth letter of the English Alphabet, is usually denominated a semi-vowel, or a liquid. It represents an imperfect articulation, formed by placing the tip of the tongue against the gum that incloses the roots of the upper teeth; but the sides of the tongue not being in close contact with the roof of the mouth, the breath of course not being entirely intercepted, this articulation is attended with an imperfect sound. The shape of the letter is evidently borrowed from that of the Oriental lamed, or lomad, nearly coinciding with the Samaritan ל. L has only one sound in English, as in like, canal. At the end of monosyllables, it is often doubled, as in fall, full, tell, bell; but not after diphthongs and digraphs; foul, fool, prowl, growl, foal, &c. being written with a single l. With some nations, l and r are commutable; as in Greek λιριον, L. lilium; It. scorta, an escort, Sp. and Port. escolta. Indeed l and r are letters of the same organ. By some nations of Celtic origin, l at the beginning of words is aspirated and doubled in writing, as in the W. lled, L. latus; llan, a lawn; llawr, a floor; Sp. llamar, L. clamo. In some words l is mute, as in half, calf, walk, talk, chalk. In our mother tongue, the Anglo-Saxon, l is sometimes preceded by h, and aspirated, as in hlaf, loaf; hladan, to lade or load; hlot, lot; hlinian, hleonian, to lean, Gr. κλινω, L. clino. In the latter word the Saxon h represents the Greek x and Latin c, as it does in many other words. In English words, the terminating syllable le is unaccented, the e is silent, and l has a feeble sound; as in able, eagle, pronounced abl, eagl. As a numeral, L. denotes 50, and with a dash, {L with super-macron}, 50,000. As an abbreviation, in Latin, it stands for Lucius; and L. L. S. for a sesterce, or two libræ and a half. – Encyc.

LA, exclam. [perhaps corrupted from look, but this is doubtful.]

Look; see; behold. – Shak.

LA, n.

In music, the syllable by which Guido denotes the last sound of each hexachord. – Encyc.

LAB, n.

A great talker; a blabber. [Obs.] – Chaucer.


The Labadists were followers of Jean de Labadie, who lived in the 17th century. They held that God can and does deceive men, that the observance of the sabbath is a matter of indifference, and other peculiar or heretical opinions. – Encyc.

LAB'A-RUM, n. [origin unknown.]

The standard borne before the Roman emperors. It was a long pike, having a transverse beam, to which was attached a silken veil, wrought with images of the monarch and his children, and on the top was a crown of gold inclosing the mysterious monogram representing the cross, with the initial letters the name of Christ. The word is sometimes used for any other standard or flag. – See Ainsworth's Dict. and Gibbon's Hist. ch. xx.


LAB-E-FAC'TION, n. [L. labefactio, from labefacio; labo, to totter, and facio, to make.]

A weakening or loosening; a failing; decay; downfall; ruin.

LAB'E-FY, v.t.

To weaken or impair. [Not used.] – Dict.

LA'BEL, n. [W. llab, a strip; labed, a label.]

  1. A narrow slip of silk, paper or parchment, containing name or title, and affixed to any thing, denoting its contents. Such are the labels affixed to the vessels of an apothecary. Labels also are affixed to deeds or writings to hold the appended seal. – Harris.
  2. Any paper annexed to a will by way of addition; as a codicil. – Encyc.
  3. In heraldry, [a fillet with pendants or points. The number of pendants is indifferent, but is usually three. The label with three pendants is added to the family arms by an eldest or only son, while his father is still living. – E. H. B.]
  4. A long thin brass rule, with a small sight at one end, and a center-hole at the other, commonly used with a tangent line on the edge of a circumferentor, to take altitudes, &c. – Encyc.

LA'BEL, v.t.

To affix a label to.

LA'BEL-ED, pp.

Furnished with a label.

LA'BEL-ING, ppr.

Distinguishing by a label.

LA'BENT, a. [L. labens.]

Sliding; gliding. Dict.

LA'BI-AL, a. [Fr. from L. labium, a lip. See Lip.]

Pertaining to the lips; formed by the lips; as, a labial articulation. Thus b, p, and m are labial articulations; and oo, Fr. ou, It. u, is a labial vowel.

LA'BI-AL, n.

A letter or character representing an articulation of the lips; as, b, f, m, p, v.

LA'BI-AL-LY, adv.

In a labial manner; by the lips.

LA'BI-ATE, or LA'BI-A-TED, a. [from L. labium, lip.]

In botany, a labiate corol is irregular, monopetalous, with two lips, or monopetalous, consisting of a narrow tube with a wide mouth, divided into two or more segments arranged in two opposite divisions or lips. – Martyn. Encyc.

LA'BILE, a. [Low L. labilis.]

Liable to err, fall or apostatize. [Not used.] – Cheyne.

LAB-I-O-DENT'AL, a. [L. labium, a lip, and dens, a tooth.]

Formed or pronounced by the cooperation of the lips and teeth; as f and v. – Holder.

LA'BOR, n. [L. labor, from labo, to fail.]

  1. Exertion of muscular strength, or bodily exertion which occasions weariness; particularly, the exertion of the limbs in occupations by which subsistence is obtained, as in agriculture and manufactures, in distinction from exertions of strength in play or amusements, which are denominated exercise rather than labor. Toilsome work; pains; travail; any bodily exertion which is attended with fatigue. After the labors of the day, the farmer retires, and rest is sweet. Moderate labor contributes to health. What is obtained by labor, will of right be the property of him by whose labor it is gained. Rambler.
  2. Intellectual exertion; application of the mind which occasions weariness; as, the labor of compiling and writing a history.
  3. Exertion of mental powers, united with bodily employment; as, the labors of the apostles in propagating Christianity.
  4. Work done, or to be done; that which requires wearisome exertion. Being a labor of so great difficulty, the exact performance thereof we may rather wish than look for. – Hooker.
  5. Heroic achievement; as, the labors of Hercules.
  6. Travail; the pangs and efforts of childbirth.
  7. The evils of life; trials; persecution, &c. They rest from their labors. Rev. xiv.

LA'BOR, v.i. [L. laboro.]

  1. To exert muscular strength; to act or move with painful effort, particularly in servile occupations; to work; to toil. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work. Exod. xx.
  2. To exert one's powers of body or mind, or both, in the prosecution of any design; to strive; to take pains. Labor not for the meat which perisheth. John vi.
  3. To toil; to be burdened. Come unto me all ye that labor, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. – Matth. xi.
  4. To move with difficulty. The stone that labors up the hill. – Glanville.
  5. To move irregularly with little progress; to pitch and roll heavily, as a ship in a turbulent sea. – Mar. Dict.
  6. To be in distress; to be pressed. As sounding cymbals aid the laboring moon. – Dryden.
  7. To be in travail; to suffer the pangs of childbirth.
  8. To journey or march. Make not all the people to labor thither. – Josh. vii.
  9. To perform the duties of the pastoral office. – 1 Tim. v.
  10. To perform Christian offices. To labor under, to be afflicted with; to be burdened or distressed with; as, to labor under a disease or an affliction.

LA'BOR, v.t.

  1. To work at; to till; to cultivate. The most excellent lands are lying fallow, or only labored by children. – Tooke.
  2. To prosecute with effort; to urge; as, to labor a point or argument.
  3. To form or fabricate with exertion; as, to labor arms for Troy. – Dryden.
  4. To beat; to belabor. [The latter word is generally used.] – Dryden.
  5. To form with toil and care; as, a labored composition.


A chimist. [Not used.] – Boyle.

LAB'OR-A-TO-RY, n. [Fr. laboratoire, from labor.]

  1. A house or place where operations and experiments in chimistry, pharmacy, pyrotechny, &c., are performed.
  2. A place where arms are manufactured or repaired, or fireworks prepared; as, the laboratory in Springfield, in Massachusetts.
  3. A place where work is performed, or any thing is prepared for use. Hence the stomach is called the grand laboratory of the human body; the liver, the laboratory of the bile.