serfdom

noun serf·dom \ ˈsərf-dəm , -təm \
Updated on: 10 Jan 2018

Definition of serfdom

: the condition of a tenant farmer bound to a hereditary plot of land and to the will of a landlord : the state or fact of being a serf
  • Despite obvious personal repugnance for serfdom, she enhanced the powers of nobles to demand more labor from their ill-treated and unorganized serfs.
  • —Carol S. Leonard
  • Servitude stretched from serfdom in Russia to the sugar plantations of the Caribbean to the indigenous slave systems in Africa that supplied both the Arabian and Atlantic trades.
  • —Adam Hochschild

Recent Examples of serfdom from the Web

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

First Known Use of serfdom

1837


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