I've met a phrase in a book "(someone)...puts in labour", top results of googling didn't bring me to understanding the meaning. What does it mean?

Edit: The book is Bhrigu Samhita by T.M. Rao, indian author. Here is a screen shot with the text. View on Google Books.

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  • 3
    Without the full context it's hard to ascertain whether the usage is "valid" or not, but my first thought is native speakers wouldn't usually use labour in that way. More likely is something like He puts in effort, meaning He makes an effort, His contribution [to some project/task] is effort [as opposed to brains, money, enthusiasm, etc.] Basically, to put in X = to contribute X Jan 7, 2015 at 17:08
  • Thank you, looks like a good answer which I would vote for. Jan 7, 2015 at 17:26
  • I'd rather see you give us the full context (or at least, a link) for wherever you found your cited text. It would obviously make a difference if we knew whether the writer was a native speaker, for example, because "labour" might feasibly be valid in some contexts (but probably it's not a very good choice of words). Jan 7, 2015 at 17:31
  • 4
    This is from a horoscope and is describing the qualities of a person born under that sign. I think that "is a hard worker" would fit the style of the text while being more clear.
    – Phil
    Jan 7, 2015 at 18:09
  • 1
    Horoscope; exactly! +1, @Phil! I personally think this is basically the wierd language of fortellers. They like abnormal words! "Put in effort" can never affect the audience like "put in labour". Or who knows? Maybe it was only because s/he wasn't native.
    – M.A.R.
    Jan 7, 2015 at 19:49

1 Answer 1


As MARemazani states in their comment, fortunetelling tends to use very non-specific language. This allows a statement to be open to enough interpretation that any person who reads it can identify with it.

As FumbleFingers states in their comment, "putting in labour" means "put in or contribute effort". While the author may have been a bit clumsy about their translation, I doubt the original was any more specific. The language is intentionally open-ended so that any reader will be able to identify with it. Reading the rest of the paragraph, clumsy English notwithstanding, the non-specific language is consistent.

  • We all like to think of ourselves as energetic and intelligent.
  • We all have to put at least a little effort into our daily lives, even if that effort is purely mental.
  • Most people spend money, and the word much is so vague here as to be useless.
  • Most people would like to believe their children are clever.
  • Gentle and talkative are highly subjective without any context.
  • With the possible exceptions of orphans and genetic clones, we all have mothers with whom we've disagreed at least once in our lives; and even then, those exceptions can still have mother figures or adopted parents.

So, just to succinctly reiterate, the phrase "(someone) puts in labour" means "(someone) puts in or contributes effort". And thanks to MARemazani, FumbleFingers and Phil for the labour they put in to this question with their comments.

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