bond·​age | \ ˈbän-dij How to pronounce bondage (audio) \

Definition of bondage

1 : the tenure or service of a villein, serf, or slave
2 : a state of being bound usually by compulsion (as of law or mastery): such as
b : servitude or subjugation to a controlling person or force young people in bondage to drugs
3 : sadomasochistic sexual practices involving the physical restraint of one partner

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Synonyms & Antonyms for bondage



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Examples of bondage in a Sentence

a population held in bondage the Civil War ended over 200 years of bondage for black Africans in America
Recent Examples on the Web The question is stipulated in the Haggadah, a ritual book that recounts the Israelites’ escape from bondage in Egypt. The Economist, "Exodus and odyssey Why is this Haggadah different from all others?," 16 Apr. 2020 On the first night of Passover, which falls on Wednesday, multigenerational families, relatives and friends usually gather for the ritual Seder feast to commemorate the Israelites’ liberation from bondage in ancient Egypt. Isabel Kershner, New York Times, "Passover Under Lockdown: Israeli Jews Revise the Rituals," 7 Apr. 2020 In an 1899 book, a former Somerset overseer said that the slaves would drown themselves to escape bondage and some died from the work. Fox News, "Descendants of 2 African slaves to spend night inside reconstructed North Carolina slave cabin," 3 Aug. 2019 The Global Slavery Index estimates that six out of every 1,000 Indians are living in bondage. Debasish Roy Chowdhury, Time, "A Major Outbreak of Coronavirus Will Test India's Healthcare, Governance and Social Cohesion to the Limit," 7 Apr. 2020 Republicans insisted that polygamy and slavery (Young believed in both) destroyed individual freedom, the former by trapping women in patriarchal plural marriages, the latter by holding blacks in bondage. David S. Reynolds, The New York Review of Books, "I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do…," 24 Mar. 2020 Today in a minute Remembering the Clotilda: The slave ship carried the last of an estimated 307,000 Africans into bondage in mainland America before the Civil War. Keith Laszinski, National Geographic, "What caused Haiti's 2010 quake and Puerto Rico's more recent temblors?," 20 Jan. 2020 The famous black liberator Harriet Tubman, for example, helped her three brothers enslaved in Maryland to escape bondage over Christmas in 1854. Robert E. May, The Conversation, "Slave life’s harsh realities are erased in Christmas tours of Southern plantations," 12 Dec. 2019 Clarence Thomas’s journey from the bowels of the segregated South to the Supreme Court is a quintessentially American story, one of a man’s triumph over adversity and embrace of a country that once held his ancestors in bondage. Nr Interview, National Review, "Clarence Thomas in His Own Words: An Interview with Michael Pack," 30 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bondage.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of bondage

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for bondage

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from bonde customary tenant, from Middle English

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Time Traveler for bondage

Time Traveler

The first known use of bondage was in the 14th century

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Statistics for bondage

Last Updated

14 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Bondage.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2020.

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How to pronounce bondage (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of bondage

formal + literary : the state of being a slave
: sexual activity that involves tying a person up for pleasure


bond·​age | \ ˈbän-dij How to pronounce bondage (audio) \

Kids Definition of bondage

: the state of being a slave

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Britannica English: Translation of bondage for Arabic Speakers

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