Definition of toils in English:


plural noun

  • Used in reference to a situation regarded as a trap.

    ‘Henry had become caught in the toils of his own deviousness’
    • ‘In the throes of these catastrophes the world urgently needs a new reformation, but one inflamed by love in action, rather than one caught in the toils of humanist fundamentalism.’
    • ‘Yet the question remains whether grace - amazing or otherwise - will be enough to carry the church once again through the ‘dangers, toils and snares’ bemoaned in that old hymn.’
    • ‘Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor or caprice?’
    • ‘Because sooner or later sociopaths tend to get caught in their manipulative toils, and the scales fall from everyone's eyes and what was charming becomes loathsome in an instant.’
    • ‘The economy in 1939 was still caught in the toils of the Depression.’
    trick, stratagem, ploy, ruse, wile, deception, artifice, subterfuge, device, trickery
    trap, net, snare
    View synonyms


Early 16th century (denoting a net into which a hunted quarry is driven): plural of toil, from Old French toile ‘net, trap’ (see toile).