What does the expression "labour under another" means in the following sentence?

Psychologists labour under another, rather severe handicap in writing an autobiography.

(Rebel with a Cause, by Hans Eysenck)

  • 3
    Look up "labour". Look up "handicap". – Cascabel Aug 30 '19 at 16:26
  • 1
    That doesn’t look like a subordinate clause to me. under is a preposition with object handicap. Another and “rather severe” modify handicap. “rather” in this case means “somewhat”. – Xanne Aug 31 '19 at 1:27

Psychologists work under the influence of another (rather severe) handicap in writing an autobiography.

(Presumably some first handicap has already been mentioned or alluded to in the context.)


Here's something that might help -

Labour under [something]

: [labour under something] to exist or try to live in a situation where there are serious difficulties or problems.

Example sentence -

"Many countries labour under a huge burden of debt they cannot even begin to pay."

(From Macmillan Dictionary)

  • What is the reference of "another"? Someone or something? – MohammadReza Aug 30 '19 at 16:39
  • @MohammadReza Possibly if you look before the sentence you asked about, you will find that psychologists are stated to have a handicap other than the one referred to here. That is, there is that handicap, and this handicap, and this one is another one. As Marvin would say, "Oh no! Not another one!" – puppetsock Aug 30 '19 at 16:53

"Labour under another" is not an expression; you are misunderstanding the sentence construction. The writer says that psychologists who are writing their autobiography suffer one more handicap (having presumably already mentioned one) which is rather severe.


As Kate Bunting said, "Labour under another" is not an expression.

The structure of "Psychologists labour under another, rather severe handicap" is

 Psychologists labour 
           [another, rather severe handicap]

"Another, rather severe handicap" is a noun phrase; "another" is a fused-together spelling of the indefinite article "an" and the adjective "other", which are being used with the noun "handicap" along with the adjective phrase "rather severe". "Another, rather severe handicap" means "An additional handicap that is rather severe".

The comma after "another" separates it from the following adjective, like how a comma is used in the noun phrase "a happy, healthy life" to separate the adjectives "happy" and "healthy". This type of comma indicates that the adjectives apply separately: without a comma, "another rather severe handicap" would tend to be understood as having a nested structure "[another [rather severe handicap]]" which would imply that both the handicap that is being introduced and the previously described handicap(s) are rather severe. The sentence as written (with a comma) indicates only that the "other" handicap is rather severe.


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