shortened form of laboratory, 1895.
c. 1600, "room or building set apart for scientific experiments," from Medieval Latin laboratorium "a place for labor or work," from Latin laboratus, past participle of laborare "to work" (see labor (v.)). Figurative use by 1660s.
name of a U.S. space program, the name first attested 1970; the thing launched 1973, abandoned 1974, fell to earth 1979. From sky (n.) + lab (n.).
updated on July 17, 2012