Middle Passage


: the forced voyage of enslaved Africans across the Atlantic Ocean to the Americas

Examples of Middle Passage in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Ship captains relied on African agricultural products to feed the 12 million enslaved Africans transported to the Americas through a brutal voyage known as the Middle Passage. Rodney Coates, The Conversation, 14 Aug. 2023 In partnership with the Universal Sailing Club, the ceremony is an annual remembrance ritual honoring the millions of captive Africans who perished during the transatlantic crossing known as the Middle Passage. Lilly Price, Baltimore Sun, 20 Aug. 2023 These are the bones of enslaved Africans lost in the Middle Passage. Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune, 17 Aug. 2023 It’s clearly conceived as a tribute to victims of the torturous Atlantic Ocean crossing known as the Middle Passage, and specifically to those who arrived, dead or alive, at this very spot. Holland Cotter, New York Times, 23 June 2023 Slave ships were constructed with nets to capture those who might try to jump overboard to their deaths rather than endure the three-to-four-month journey of the Middle Passage. Shantay Robinson, Smithsonian Magazine, 8 June 2023 Part of Davis’ research situates the origin of Black mermaids during the Middle Passage, a time period where Africans were enslaved and violently transported across the ocean to North America and the Caribbean. Uwa Ede-Osifo, NBC News, 26 May 2023 Museum exhibits describe the transport through the dreaded Middle Passage from Africa across the Atlantic. Washington Post, 29 Apr. 2022 Whether captives smuggled seeds and plants from aboard slave ships or captains purchased them in Africa for planting in America, key components of the West African diet also journeyed along the Middle Passage across the Atlantic. Jessica Damiano, Anchorage Daily News, 23 Feb. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'Middle Passage.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1788, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of Middle Passage was in 1788

Dictionary Entries Near Middle Passage

Cite this Entry

“Middle Passage.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Middle%20Passage. Accessed 23 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition

Middle Passage

: the forced voyage of enslaved Africans across the Atlantic Ocean to the Americas

More from Merriam-Webster on Middle Passage

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!