"hard work," c. 1300, originally "turmoil, contention, dispute," from Anglo-French toil (13c.), from toiler "agitate, stir up, entangle, writhe about," from Old French toeillier "drag about, make dirty" (12c.), usually said to be from Latin tudiculare "crush with a small hammer," from tudicula "mill for crushing olives, instrument for crushing," from Latin tudes "hammer," from PIE *tud-, variant of *(s)teu- "to push, stroke, knock, beat" (see obtuse). Sense of "hard work, labor" (1590s) is from the related verb (see toil (v.)).
"net, snare," 1520s, from Middle French toile "hunting net, cloth, web" (compare toile d'araignée "cobweb"), from Old French toile "cloth" (11c.), from Latin tela "web, net, warp of a fabric," from PIE root *teks- "to weave," also "to fabricate." Now used largely in plural (as in caught in the toils of the law).
early 14c., toilen, "pull at, tug," from Anglo-French toiller, Old French toellier "pull or drag about" (see toil (n.1)). Intransitive meaning "struggle, work hard, labor for considerable time" is from late 14c., perhaps by influence of till (v.). Related: Toiled; toiling.
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