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Labourer vs. Laborer — What's the Difference?

Edited by Tayyaba Rehman — By Maham Liaqat — Updated on April 7, 2024
Labourer and laborer both refer to a person engaged in physical work, but "labourer" is the British English spelling, while "laborer" is used in American English.
Labourer vs. Laborer — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Labourer and Laborer


Key Differences

Labourer, as spelled in British English, refers to an individual who performs manual labor, typically in construction, agriculture, or similar fields. Whereas laborer, following American English spelling conventions, describes the same role but is used within contexts adhering to American linguistic standards.
The choice between "labourer" and "laborer" often hinges on the intended audience or the linguistic norms of the publication. On one hand, "labourer" is the preferred spelling in texts meant for readers in the UK, Canada, Australia, and other Commonwealth nations. On the other hand, "laborer" is favored in American English-speaking contexts, reflecting the simpler spelling preferences in the United States.
Both terms encapsulate the essential role of manual workers in various sectors, highlighting the importance of physical labor in the economy and society. Whether spelled as "labourer" or "laborer," the term denotes individuals performing skilled or unskilled work that requires physical strength and stamina.
In professional and legal documents, the spelling of "labourer" or "laborer" can also reflect adherence to specific legal standards or employment laws relevant to the country or region. Meanwhile, "laborer" is typically found in American contracts, job postings, and labor laws.
The distinction between "labourer" and "laborer" serves as a reminder of the rich diversity within the English language, where regional spelling variations coexist. Despite the spelling differences, the respect and recognition due to those who work in these roles remain universal.

Comparison Chart

Spelling Variants

British English
American English


Refers to manual workers in various sectors
Refers to manual workers in various sectors

Example Sentences

E.g., The construction site was full of labourers.
E.g., The construction site was full of laborers.

Considerations in Writing

Preferred in texts adhering to British spelling standards
Preferred in texts adhering to American spelling standards

Legal and Professional Use

Common in Commonwealth countries' legal documents
Used in American contracts and labor laws

Compare with Definitions


A person who performs physical work, especially in construction or agriculture.
The project required a team of skilled labourers.


Reflects American preferences for simpler spellings.
American English often simplifies words by omitting u in labour.


Recognized in English-speaking countries outside the US.
Canadian labourers often work in extreme weather conditions.


An individual engaged in manual labor, particularly in building and mechanical trades.
The laborer spent hours laying bricks.


Adheres to UK and Commonwealth spelling conventions.
Labourers in the UK are essential to the construction industry.


Used in job postings and contracts within the United States.
The company is hiring laborers for its new construction project.


Spelling aligns with the legal standards of the region.
The contract specified wages for labourers on the project.


Matches the terminology used in US labor legislation.
The law protects the rights of laborers in workplaces.


Reflects the linguistic diversity of English-speaking countries.
In Australia, labourers are crucial to the mining sector.


Follows US spelling rules.
Laborers are vital to the American economy.


Standard spelling of laborer


A laborer is a person who works in manual labor types, especially in the construction and factory industries' workforce. Laborers are in a class of wage-earners in which their only possession of significant material value is their labor, this is the proletariat.


A laborer; someone who works with their hands.


Physical or mental exertion, especially when difficult or exhausting; work.


Someone who works with their hands; someone engaged in manual 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).


A particular form of work or method of working
Manual labor.


Work for wages
Businesses paying more for labor.


Workers considered as a group.


The trade union movement, especially its officials.


Labor A political party representing workers' interests, especially in Great Britain.


The process by which childbirth occurs, beginning with contractions of the uterus and ending with the expulsion of the fetus or infant and the placenta.


To work; toil
Labored in the fields.


To strive painstakingly
Labored over the needlepoint.


To proceed with great effort; plod
Labored up the hill.


(Nautical) To pitch and roll.


To suffer from distress or a disadvantage
Labored under the misconception that others were cooperating.


To undergo the labor of childbirth.


To deal with in exhaustive or excessive detail; belabor
Labor a point in the argument.


To distress; burden
I will not labor you with trivial matters.


Of or relating to labor.


Labor Of or relating to a Labor Party.


(American spelling) One who uses body strength instead of intellectual power to earn a wage, usually hourly.


One who labors in a toilsome occupation; a person who does work that requires strength rather than skill, as distinguished from that of an artisan.


Someone who works with their hands; someone engaged in manual labor

Common Curiosities

How should I decide which spelling to use?

Choose based on the regional English conventions of your audience or the standards of the publication you are writing for.

What is the main difference between "labourer" and "laborer"?

The main difference is the spelling, with "labourer" being British English and "laborer" American English.

Is there any difference in meaning between the two terms?

No, both terms refer to individuals engaged in physical, often manual, work.

Why do British and American English have different spellings for the same words?

Variations in spelling reflect historical linguistic developments and standardization efforts in each region.

Is one spelling more correct than the other?

No, both are correct within their respective linguistic contexts.

Can "labourer" and "laborer" be used interchangeably?

Yes, but the choice of spelling should reflect the intended audience's linguistic norms.

Do style guides recommend one spelling over the other?

Style guides recommend using the spelling consistent with either American or British English, depending on the guide's focus.

Does the choice of spelling affect the perception of the text?

It might signal to readers the origin of the text or the writer's linguistic background.

Can the spelling choice affect search engine optimization (SEO) for online content?

Yes, spelling variations can impact SEO, making it important to use the variant most likely to match your target audience's searches.

Are both spellings recognized globally?

Yes, both spellings are recognized, but regional preferences prevail.

In bilingual or ESL contexts, which spelling should be taught?

This depends on the regional focus of the educational program or the preferences of the educational institution.

How does the digital age affect these spelling differences?

Digital communication exposes people to both spellings, though regional preferences remain.

Can the spelling difference impact legal documents?

Yes, legal documents typically use the spelling standard of the country in which they are drafted.

How do educational systems handle these differences in spelling?

Educational systems teach the spelling conventions prevalent in their region, though exposure to both forms is common.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Maham Liaqat
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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