Definition of labored in US English:


(British laboured)


  • 1Done with great effort and difficulty.

    ‘his breathing was becoming less labored’
    • ‘In this case the symptoms will be thirst, vomiting, drowsiness, labored breathing, abdominal pain and fruity smelling breath.’
    • ‘Larry's voice came in short, labored gasps as it slowly became more difficult to breathe.’
    • ‘But his labored effort to show that it is possible to get to the Cambodian border from Vietnam via the Mekong River is a little more trouble than it's worth.’
    • ‘My strongest memory of him is the sound of his laboured breathing.’
    • ‘Nigel Twiston-Davies's imposing six-year-old produced one or two lethargic jumps, and then a particularly laboured effort at the final fence handed victory to Vodka Bleu.’
    • ‘When the party broke up slightly we retired to the living room to talk loudly over the sound of my father's laboured drunken snoring as he'd once more collapsed open-mouthed into his chair.’
    • ‘New Zealand preparations included an ultimately easy victory over Wales, a laboured success against France, and a narrow loss to the team of the moment and World Cup favourites England.’
    • ‘I could smell my cousin's perfume mingled with sweat and hear her labored breaths.’
    • ‘This one had manoeuvred itself into an exposed position and was climbing in a laboured manner up a twisted, dry vine that was coming away from the tree.’
    • ‘With every labored breath, Lizzy prays she'll see the next day.’
    • ‘While her face crinkles into a laboured smirk, her sad eyes say more than words ever could.’
    • ‘‘I'm a tourist, not a terrorist,’ was my increasingly laboured refrain.’
    • ‘I've written before about how his laboured breathing was one of the few things I remember of him.’
    • ‘I focused on my labored breath and thought back to my struggle to breathe in Laos, which reminded me of why I was doing this.’
    • ‘But it was a laboured effort, and Armstrong found the strength to respond, passing Ullrich and taking Basso with him.’
    • ‘Blockbusters may come and go, but when you see a lower-budget debut feature film, even if it turns out to be the laboured work of a tortured soul, you can be sure that its very existence means the world to somebody somewhere.’
    • ‘In a labored effort, he stood up and paid a closer inspection to this enigmatic item.’
    • ‘There's labored tone about Reid's response that could simply be a legacy of having to explain the question many times or it may stem from a genuine concern.’
    • ‘And when her labored breathing finally came to an end and her cloudy eyes stared off in the distance, I had a good cry.’
    • ‘He then launches into a laboured attempt to show us what happens next by drawing on the history of oil in Kuwait.’
    strained, difficult, forced, laborious, heavy, awkward
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 (especially of humor or a performance) not spontaneous or fluent.
      ‘one of Arthur's labored jokes’
      • ‘Her laboured and forced English accent, and disappointing performances from the rest of the cast, say a lot about the director's capabilities.’
      • ‘This was a laboured sitcom peopled by stereotypical characters in unlikely plots.’
      • ‘Mendelson shuffles around looking catatonically depressed and uttering his lines in a laboured and difficult way.’
      • ‘Everything about director, Steven Brill's movie, smacks of desperation, though, given the laboured quality of most of the jokes, and the overall lack of subtlety.’
      • ‘Or else, the productions crumbled under the weight of laboured interpretations.’
      • ‘The pacing at times could have been a little more frantic as some of the humour became somewhat laboured.’
      • ‘The 85 minutes of laboured monologues and unconvincing heroism are as entertaining as a pet's funeral.’
      contrived, stiff, strained, stilted, forced, unnatural, artificial, mannered, studied, affected, overdone, overworked, heavy, ponderous, over-elaborate, over-embellished, long-winded, awkward, clumsy, inelegant, turgid, laborious, overwrought, not spontaneous, unconvincing, convoluted, complex, intricate, ornate, elaborate, prolix
      View synonyms