Labor vs. Labour | Definition, Spelling & Examples
Labor and labour are different spellings of the noun meaning “work,” “a group of manual workers,” and “the process of giving birth” and the verb meaning “work hard” and “discuss something at unnecessary length.”
The spelling varies depending on whether you’re using UK or US English:
- In US English, “labor” (no “u”) is standard.
- In UK English, “labour” (with a “u”) is the correct spelling.
Other forms of the word
The same spelling distinction carries over to related words, such as “labored/laboured” and “laboring/labouring.”
- In US English, “labored” and “laboring” (no “u”) are standard.
- In UK English, “laboured” and “labouring” (with a “u”) are correct.
While “labour” is the standard spelling in UK English, the related adjective laborious (meaning “tedious”) is used in both US and UK English. This is also the case for the adverb laboriously. Spelling these words with “-our-” is never correct.
Exception: Labour as a proper noun
In the UK, “Labour” is used as a proper noun to refer to the UK Labour Party.
Other interesting language articles
If you want to know more about commonly confused words, definitions, common mistakes, and differences between US and UK spellings, make sure to check out some of our other language articles with explanations, examples, and quizzes.
US vs. UK spellings
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