from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Any of a set of fundamental motions required for a worker to perform a manual operation.


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

By partial reversal of the name of its inventor "F. B. Gilbreth", American engineer


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word therblig.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • A unit of physical activity used in time-and-motion studies in industrial engineering; each therblig represents one of 18 standardized activities identified by the American industrial psychologists Frank B. Gilbreth and Lillian M. Gilbreth: search, find, select, grasp, hold, position, assemble, use, disassemble, inspect, transport loaded, transport unloaded, preposition for next operation, release load, unavoidable delay, avoidable delay, plan, and rest for overcoming fatigue. The word is a backward spelling (counting "th" as one letter) of Gilbreth.

    November 6, 2007

  • This is a great word! It is a unit of time in terms of "time and motion" studies, which isn't so great. What's great about it is that its Gilbreth spelled backwards. The Gilbreths (husband and wife) were pioneers in the wretched matter of industrial time and motion study. Wonderful way to sneek into the dictionary!

    August 9, 2009