"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 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).
updated on October 14, 2021