slave

noun
\ˈslāv \

Definition of slave 

(Entry 1 of 4)

1 : a person held in servitude as the chattel of another

2 : one that is completely subservient to a dominating influence

3 : a device (such as the printer of a computer) that is directly responsive to another

4 : drudge, toiler

slave

verb
slaved; slaving

Definition of slave (Entry 2 of 4)

transitive verb

1 archaic : enslave

2 : to make directly responsive to another mechanism

intransitive verb

1 : to work like a slave : drudge

2 : to traffic in slaves

slave

adjective

Definition of slave (Entry 3 of 4)

1a : of, relating to, involving, or used for slaves or slavery slave traders a slave auction slave owners a slave economy Many authentic slave narratives were influenced by Harriet Beecher Stowe; on the other hand, authentic slave narratives were among Stowe's primary sources for her own imaginative work, Uncle Tom's Cabin.— Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

b : held in or forced into servitude : enslaved born of slave parents slave workers

c : favoring or legally permitting slavery a slave territory the slave states

2 : operated by remote control the device now tucked away behind the dials isn't properly a clockwork but a … slave unit activated by an electric clock inside the bankThe New Yorker specifically : responding to manipulation of the master controls of an apparatus There's also provision for attaching external slave flash units for greater flash range when using print film. — Herbert Keppler … had the ultimate compact-disc system—a master machine and four optional slave machines—that will load and play 250 discs altogether … — William D. Marbach

Slave

geographical name
\ˈslāv \

Definition of Slave (Entry 4 of 4)

river 258 miles (415 kilometers) long in Canada flowing from the western end of Lake Athabasca north into Great Slave Lake

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Synonyms & Antonyms for slave

Synonyms: Noun

bondman (also bondsman), chattel, thrall

Synonyms: Verb

bang away, dig (away), drudge, endeavor, grub, hump, hustle, labor, moil, peg (away), plod, plow, plug, slog, strain, strive, struggle, sweat, toil, travail, tug, work

Antonyms: Noun

freeman

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Examples of slave in a Sentence

Noun

He treats her like a slave. Do it yourself! I'm not your slave!

Verb

I slaved all morning to get the work done on time. She's been slaving away at her homework.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

It's named for Peter Faneuil, a merchant and slave owner who paid for the building as a gift to the city. Mark Pratt, Fox News, "Should liberty icon Faneuil Hall's slave ties mean renaming?," 19 June 2018 It’s named for Peter Faneuil, a merchant and slave owner who paid for the building as a gift to the city. Washington Post, "Some seek Faneuil Hall name change because of slavery ties," 18 June 2018 It's named for Peter Faneuil, a merchant and slave owner who paid for the building as a gift to the city. Mark Pratt, The Christian Science Monitor, "Should slavery ties mean renaming of iconic Boston building?," 18 June 2018 This is a dilemma that often hits the young hardest: how, for example, to grapple with the complicated legacy of Thomas Jefferson, founding father and slave owner. Richard Aldous, WSJ, "‘Conservativism’ Review: Holding On to the Good Things," 14 June 2018 Groups like Women on the 20s advocated to replace the slave owner, who forcibly removed Native Americans from their land, with abolitionist Tubman. Leah Rodriguez, The Cut, "Under Trump, Will Harriet Tubman Still Be on the $20 Bill?," 6 June 2018 My last name is Stewart because that’s the name of the Scottish slave owner who held my ancestors as property. Ashley Edwards Walker, Glamour, "Why Do So Many People Still Insist I Use My Husband’s Last Name?," 29 May 2018 The new policy has some wondering if Jefferson High should no longer be named after a slave owner. Maxine Bernstein, OregonLive.com, "Citizen panel wants different standard of review on police misconduct cases," 9 May 2018 With roots in the transatlantic slave trade, Mammies were Black women who were domestic caregivers, mostly charged with taking care of the children of slave owners and, once slavery was abolished, white families who hired them for low wages. Cameron Glover, Harper's BAZAAR, "Why Wonder Woman Is Bittersweet for Black Women," 9 June 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Some see the positives (like rising employment numbers), while others — including the activist group Left Eye — see WorryFree as something akin to slave labor. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, "Why 'Sorry to Bother You' is the weirdest, wittiest comedy you'll see all summer," 3 July 2018 There is no need to slave over the hot oven or bathe in flour to impress the people on your holiday gift list. Indianapolis Star, "Quick-Fix Food Gifts," 5 July 2018 At the centerpiece is Seymour, the nebbish sad sack who slaves away in Mushnik's Skid Row Florist. Theodore P. Mahne, NOLA.com, "Rivertown sets up a campy and funny 'Little Shop of Horrors'," 8 May 2018 Both of the game's Windows SKUs were given new life pretty much entirely by Steam Workshop contributors who slaved away at texture packs, recoloring efforts, and other quality-of-life tweaks. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Skyrim VR is coming to PC, and it marks a Bethesda first: Oculus approval [Updated]," 14 Mar. 2018 Neither Foster or Meaher were ever convicted of the crime of slaving, though Meaher was arrested at one point for his role, and Foster was forced to pay a $1,000 fine for failing to register in port after an international trip. Ben Raines, AL.com, "Wreck found by reporter may be last American slave ship, archaeologists say," 23 Jan. 2018 The University of Mississippi is acknowledging its historical connections to slave labor, slave owners and officials who set policies that stripped African Americans of voting rights after the Civil War. Washington Post, "Ole Miss acknowledges its use of slave labor," 7 Mar. 2018 The journal of William Foster, the captain of the Clotilda, provides a detailed historical document regarding the slaving operations in Dahomey at the time of his journey. Connor Sheets, AL.com, "Hamilton woman dies in one-car crash in Frankiln County," 18 Feb. 2018 My mom was always slaving away in the kitchen with my grandma. As Told To Jonathan Kauffman And Tara Duggan, San Francisco Chronicle, "A collection of Christmas memories from Bay Area food people," 21 Dec. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'slave.' 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 slave

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1602, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Adjective

1576 , in the meaning defined at sense 1b

History and Etymology for slave

Noun

Middle English sclave, from Anglo-French or Medieval Latin; Anglo-French esclave, from Medieval Latin sclavus, from Sclavus Slav; from the frequent enslavement of Slavs in central Europe during the early Middle Ages

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Learn More about slave

Dictionary Entries near slave

slaunchways

Slav

Slavdom

slave

Slave

slave ant

slave bracelet

Phrases Related to slave

slave labor

slave over a hot stove

Statistics for slave

Last Updated

5 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for slave

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

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More Definitions for slave

slave

noun

English Language Learners Definition of slave

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: someone who is legally owned by another person and is forced to work for that person without pay

: a person who is strongly influenced and controlled by something

slave

verb

English Language Learners Definition of slave (Entry 2 of 2)

: to work very hard

slave

noun
\ˈslāv \

Kids Definition of slave

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a person who is owned by another person and can be sold at the owner's will

2 : a person who is strongly influenced and controlled by something a slave to fashion

3 : drudge

slave

verb
slaved; slaving

Kids Definition of slave (Entry 2 of 2)

: to work very hard, for long hours, or under difficult conditions … I could only see myself slaving … in the tobacco fields.— Robert Louis Stevenson, Kidnapped

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