: a member of a servile feudal class bound to the land and subject to the will of its owner
serfage noun

Word History


borrowed from French, going back to Old French, "servant, serf," going back to Late Latin servus (in the phrase servus Deī "servant of God"), going back to Latin, "slave" — more at serve entry 1

First Known Use

1611, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of serf was in 1611

Dictionary Entries Near serf

Cite this Entry

“Serf.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/serf. Accessed 20 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


: a servant or laborer of olden times who was treated as part of the land worked on and went along with the land if it was sold
serfdom noun

from French serf "a slave bound to a certain piece of land," from early French, from Latin servus "slave, servant" — related to servant see Word History at slave

More from Merriam-Webster on serf

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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