Definition of moil in US English:



[no object]North American
dialect, archaic
  • 1Work hard.

    ‘men who moiled for gold’
    • ‘I rose early and sat late, I toiled and moiled, and in the sweat of my brow and of my soul I strove to gain this money, that I might have some honour among my fellow-creatures.’
    • ‘For five rainy days he tramped ever-widening circles out from the base, traversing ridges and saddles and moiling through valleys while the armed guard followed him every step of the way.’
    • ‘But in much of the rest of the world, the willful individual, moiling away against the system, may attain nobility in some moral order but is nonetheless fated to be crushed.’
    • ‘He truly toiled and moiled just to accept God's will when he prayed at Gethsemane.’
    work hard, labour, work one's fingers to the bone, work like a trojan, work like a dog, work day and night, exert oneself, keep at it, keep one's nose to the grindstone, grind away, slave away, grub away, plough away, plod away
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    1. 1.1with adverbial Move around in confusion or agitation.
      ‘a crowd of men and women moiled in the smoky haze’
      • ‘The maggots moiled about its flesh, pixellating and transforming its appearance.’
      • ‘Suddenly I noticed something happening in his face, beginning to moil and move.’


North American
dialect, archaic
  • 1Hard work; drudgery.

    • ‘Shao's toil and moil was rather rewarding, and five years after his arrival, in 1852, he successfully launched his shop with a food-processing workshop at another location.’
    • ‘At one level he was the small-time farmer from Ayrshire who described his early life as having ‘the cheerless gloom of a hermit with the unceasing moil of a galley slave’.’
    • ‘So these are matters in the moils and toils of government and likely to remain so, I suspect, for some time.’
    hard work, toiling, labour, slaving, struggle, effort, exertion, application, industry, grind, slog, blood, sweat, and tears, drudgery
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    1. 1.1 Turmoil; confusion.
      ‘the moil of his intimate thoughts’
      confusion, upheaval, upheavals, turbulence, tumult, disorder, commotion, disturbance, agitation, ferment, unrest, trouble, disruption, upset, convulsions, chaos, mayhem, pandemonium, bedlam, uproar
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Late Middle English (in the sense ‘moisten or bedaub’): from Old French moillier ‘paddle in mud, moisten’, based on Latin mollis ‘soft’. The sense ‘work’ dates from the mid 16th century, often in the phrase toil and moil.