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

Definition of enslave

transitive verb

: to reduce to or as if to slavery : subjugate

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from enslave

enslavement \ in-​ˈslāv-​mənt How to pronounce enslavement (audio) , en-​ \ noun
enslaver noun

Examples of enslave in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web National histories take countries to war, build and destroy empires, enslave and liberate people. Washington Post, "‘Union’ tells the origin story of the United States through 19th-century voices," 26 June 2020 One part of that reckoning has been a push to remove monuments or odes to the Confederacy, the collection of states that seceded and waged war against the Union over the right to enslave Black people. Amanda Jackson, CNN, "Baton Rouge activist rips school board member for defending Robert E. Lee," 21 June 2020 Even after Granger’s announcement, many whites in Texas continued to enslave people who had not heard the news. Annette Gordon-reed, The New Yorker, "Growing Up with Juneteenth," 19 June 2020 As Johnson notes in the video, the first nine presidents of Princeton, as well as several professors, enslaved black people. Mahita Gajanan, Time, "'Have Faith.' Princeton's First Black Valedictorian On Graduating Into a Global Pandemic," 28 May 2020 The first direct slave voyage from Africa to the Americas happened by the early 1520s; by the time the first ship carrying enslaved Africans arrived in North America in 1619, the Atlantic slave trade was already in full swing in South America. Anne Thériault, Longreads, "Queens of Infamy: Njinga," 4 Oct. 2019 Louisville, Macon, and Savannah – were renamed after Confederate generals who had fought to keep blacks enslaved. 1843, "Confederacy in the ’hood," 2 Apr. 2020 And, besides, other ancestors were themselves enslaved. New York Times, "‘Cane River’ Review: A Lost Treasure of Independent Cinema," 6 Feb. 2020 Ruth Elma Cummings, who were sharecroppers on land where their ancestors were enslaved. Lillian Reed, baltimoresun.com, "'My brother in Baltimore’: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reacts to death of U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings," 17 Oct. 2019

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

See More

First Known Use of enslave

1628, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about enslave

Time Traveler for enslave

Time Traveler

The first known use of enslave was in 1628

See more words from the same year

Statistics for enslave

Last Updated

29 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Enslave.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/enslave. Accessed 14 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for enslave


How to pronounce enslave (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of enslave

: to make (someone) a slave


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

Kids Definition of enslave

: to make a slave of

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on enslave

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for enslave

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with enslave

Spanish Central: Translation of enslave

Nglish: Translation of enslave for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of enslave for Arabic Speakers

Comments on enslave

What made you want to look up enslave? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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