Difference Wiki

Labor vs. Labour: What's the Difference?

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sumera Saeed || Updated on October 15, 2023
"Labor" is the American spelling, and "labour" is British, both mean work, especially hard physical work.

Key Differences

"Labor" represents the American English spelling of the term, signifying the exertion of effort or work, especially that which requires physical prowess or is related to a specific task or job. Conversely, "labour" maintains the same definitional properties but is distinguished by its usage predominantly in British English territories, reflecting the same commitment to task or the process of working, albeit with a different orthographic representation.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 15, 2023
In the context of economics and sociology, both "labor" and "labour" refer to the working-class or to the workforce. However, "labor" is used in American contexts, such as when discussing labor unions in the United States, while "labour" would be used in similar discussions taking place in the UK, like when referring to the Labour Party or labour rights in Britain.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 15, 2023
During discussions of childbirth, the term "labor" or "labour" is employed to describe the process leading up to the delivery of a baby. In American hospitals and literature, you'll read "labor," for instance, in phrases like "labor pains" or "going into labor." In contrast, British hospitals and texts would use "labour" in the same context.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 15, 2023
"Labor" and "labour" can also be used as verbs, describing the act of working strenuously. For example, in the US, one might say, "He labored under the sun for hours," whereas, in the UK, it would be, "He laboured under the sun for hours," with the spelling shifting in tandem with the geographical linguistic norms.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 15, 2023
The distinction in spelling between "labor" and "labour" reflects a broader theme in language where certain words have variations that are orthographically distinct depending on whether American or British English is being used. Despite this spelling discrepancy, the pronunciation remains largely the same, and both forms are understood internationally thanks to the widespread nature of English-language media.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 15, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Spelling

American English
British English
Sumera Saeed
Oct 15, 2023

Pronunciation

Remains the same
Remains the same
Sumera Saeed
Oct 15, 2023

Usage in writing

Used in American publications and communications
Used in British publications and communications
Sumera Saeed
Oct 15, 2023

Contextual usage

Found in American-context discussions (e.g., labor unions)
Found in British-context discussions (e.g., Labour Party)
Sumera Saeed
Oct 15, 2023

International recognition

Recognized and understood globally
Recognized and understood globally
Sumera Saeed
Oct 15, 2023
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Labor and Labour Definitions

Labor

Labor refers to work, especially hard physical work.
The construction workers were fatigued after a long day of labor.
Huma Saeed
Oct 15, 2023

Labour

Labour can denote the body of persons engaged in such activity, particularly the working class.
The new laws were introduced to improve conditions for labour.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 15, 2023

Labor

Labor is used to denote the process of childbirth.
She was in labor for several hours.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 15, 2023

Labour

Labour refers to work, especially manual work involving physical effort.
The workers were ready for a day of hard labour.
Huma Saeed
Oct 15, 2023

Labor

As a verb, labor means to work hard or toil.
They labored through the night to finish the project on time.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 15, 2023

Labour

Labour is the term used for the process of childbirth in British English.
Her labour lasted for ten hours.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 15, 2023

Labor

Labor can describe the workforce or working class in general.
The new policies were designed to protect the rights of labor.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 15, 2023

Labour

As a verb, labour means to work hard or make great effort.
They laboured until dusk to set up the campsite.
Sara Rehman
Oct 15, 2023

Labor

Labor can also imply an arduous task or effort.
It was a labor of love to restore the old car.
Janet White
Oct 15, 2023

Labour

Labour also suggests a task done with great effort or difficulty.
Writing the novel was a real labour of love.
Janet White
Oct 15, 2023

Labor

Physical or mental exertion, especially when difficult or exhausting; work.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 15, 2019

Labour

Variant of labor.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 15, 2019

Labor

A specific task or effort, especially a painful or arduous one
"Eating the bread was a labor I put myself through to quiet my stomach" (Gail Anderson-Dargatz).
Sumera Saeed
Oct 15, 2019

Labour

Effort expended on a particular task; toil, work.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 15, 2019

FAQs

Can "labor" and "labour" be used interchangeably?

No, they are region-specific spellings. Use "labor" in American English and "labour" in British English.
Huma Saeed
Oct 15, 2023

What is the difference between "labor" and "labour"?

"Labor" is the American English spelling, while "labour" is the British English spelling of the same word, meaning work or effort.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 15, 2023

Is there a difference in pronunciation between "labor" and "labour"?

No, the pronunciation is the same; it's the spelling that differs.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 15, 2023

Are there any specific rules for choosing between "labor" and "labour"?

Use the spelling that corresponds to the variety of English you are writing in.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 15, 2023

Is there a plural form of "labor" or "labour"?

The plural forms are "labors" in American English and "labours" in British English.
Janet White
Oct 15, 2023

How do you decide which spelling to use in international documents?

In international contexts, choose the spelling based on the audience or the organization's preference.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 15, 2023

Is one spelling more correct than the other?

No, both are correct in their respective regions.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 15, 2023

Do "labor" and "labour" have synonyms in English?

Yes, synonyms include "work," "employment," "task," and "job."
Sara Rehman
Oct 15, 2023

Which countries use "labour" as the preferred spelling?

The United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and many other English-speaking countries use "labour."
Sumera Saeed
Oct 15, 2023

Are there any derivatives of "labor" or "labour" that have different spellings?

Some derivatives, like "laborer" (US) and "labourer" (UK), have distinct spellings.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 15, 2023

Is there a historical reason for the difference between "labor" and "labour"?

The variation can be traced back to the development of American and British English spelling norms.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 15, 2023

Are there any grammatical differences between "labor" and "labour"?

No, they are grammatically identical; the difference is in spelling only.
Janet White
Oct 15, 2023

Which countries use "labor" as the preferred spelling?

The United States and some other English-speaking countries follow American English and use "labor."
Janet White
Oct 15, 2023

Are there situations where "labor" and "labour" have different connotations or usage?

No, they have the same meanings and usage; only the spelling differs.
Janet White
Oct 15, 2023

Is "labor" or "labour" used in the context of childbirth?

In both American and British English, "labor" is used to refer to the process of childbirth.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 15, 2023

Are there any exceptions to the American/British English rule for "labor" and "labour"?

There are no major exceptions; the regional spelling is quite consistent.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 15, 2023

Is one term more correct than the other?

No, the correct usage depends on whether American or British English is being used.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 15, 2023

In legal contexts, is there a preference for "labor" or "labour"?

Legal documents in the United States generally use "labor," while those in the UK use "labour."
Sumera Saeed
Oct 15, 2023

Is "labor" or "labour" more commonly used in academic writing?

Academic writing tends to follow the conventions of the country, so it depends on the academic institution's location.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 15, 2023

Can you use "labor" or "labour" as a verb?

Yes, both can be used as verbs meaning to work or exert effort.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 15, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.
Edited by
Huma Saeed
Huma is a renowned researcher acclaimed for her innovative work in Difference Wiki. Her dedication has led to key breakthroughs, establishing her prominence in academia. Her contributions continually inspire and guide her field.

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