en·​slave in-ˈslāv How to pronounce enslave (audio)
enslaved; enslaving; enslaves

transitive verb

: to force into or as if into slavery : subjugate
The building holds bronze statues of Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass, who were born, and enslaved, on Maryland's Eastern Shore.Evan Osnos
It has long been known that Nordic warriors established outposts more than a millennium ago on Poland's Baltic coast, enslaving indigenous Slavic peoples to supply a booming slave trade, as well trading in salt, amber and other commodities.Andrew Higgins
This oddly contradictory view of artificial intelligence is somehow a perfect symbol of AI's place in our imaginations at this moment in history—something that will eliminate countless jobs, a boost for creativity, an end to drudgery, or perhaps a monstrous force that will take over our planet and enslave humanity.Minda Zetlin
enslavement noun
… the continued enslavement of millions of human beings after President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. Juan Cole
sexual/economic enslavement
enslaver noun
plural enslavers
British goods were shipped to Africa to be exchanged for enslaved captives, who were sold to enslavers in British colonies … Matthew Stallard and Aamna Mohdin

Examples of enslave in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web When the formerly enslaved were legally permitted to choose their last names, only 40% chose the last names of their former enslavers - possibly to maintain familial connections, according to Stevenson. Victor Blackwell, CNN, 19 June 2024 Many historians trace it to the pileus, a cap worn by the formerly enslaved in ancient Rome to indicate that they had been freed. Greg Daugherty, Smithsonian Magazine, 18 June 2024 For more than a year, a battle raged over who was entitled to the land—the former Confederates or the formerly enslaved. Essence, 18 June 2024 Thankfully, my great-great-great-grandmother, who was formerly enslaved, intervened. Tribune News Service, Hartford Courant, 17 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for enslave 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'enslave.' 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

1605, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of enslave was in 1605

Dictionary Entries Near enslave

Cite this Entry

“Enslave.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/enslave. Accessed 22 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


en·​slave in-ˈslāv How to pronounce enslave (audio)
: to force into slavery
enslavement noun
enslaver noun
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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