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travail (noun) difficult and unpleasant situation involving tiring work.
Used usually in plural, travails means an unpleasant situation or experience that involves a lot of hard work, difficulties and suffering. In the olden days black laborers had to suffer travails under their heartless white masters. They had to lead lives of endless difficulties doing all kinds of tiring work for their cruel white lords.
- Before the blacks’ travails came to an end thanks to the initiative taken by Abraham Lincoln, they had had to suffer hard labor as slaves. Their lives were full of difficulties and suffering.
- She had to pass through a period of travail before she became very wealthy. During that period, life was very difficult, with long hours of tiring work.