slave

noun
\ ˈslāv How to pronounce slave (audio) \

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 How to pronounce Slave (audio) \

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, beaver (away), dig (away), drudge, endeavor, fag, 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

Shrines to the ocean deity line the historic slave coast of western Africa — from Senegal to Ghana to Angola, said Andrew Apter, interim director of the James S. Coleman African Studies Center at UCLA. Washington Post, "#NotMyAriel? African mermaids existed long before Disney.," 10 July 2019 Britons once sweetened their drink with slave-grown Caribbean sugar, and the ghosts of imperial commerce lend a bitter tang to several contemporary artworks here. B.t., The Economist, "The ambivalent history of the Camellia sinensis leaf," 10 July 2019 Haiti’s distinct culture is due, in no small part, to the 1791-1804 slave rebellion and subsequent independence from France. chicagotribune.com, "How the Haitian spirit clairin is more like mezcal than rum," 9 July 2019 The government separated Native American children from their parents, and African slave children were also separated from their parents. Elizabeth Cohen, CNN, "Smithsonian interested in obtaining migrant children's drawings depicting their time in US custody," 8 July 2019 For slaves whose African heritage had long been stolen or lost, this was not uncommon. New York Times, "James Monroe Enslaved Hundreds. Their Descendants Still Live Next Door.," 7 July 2019 There’s no master/slave arrangement, which was common among early true wireless earbuds. Chris Welch, The Verge, "Sony’s new noise-canceling wireless earbuds are its best answer to AirPods yet," 5 July 2019 The board's decision last week comes at a time when the legacies of Washington and other historical figures who owned slaves are being re-examined. CBS News, "Controversial George Washington mural to be painted over at San Francisco high school," 4 July 2019 After the notorious three-fifths compromise, each slave would only be counted as three-fifths of a person. Jess Mchugh, Fortune, "The U.S. Census Has a Long History of Discrimination," 20 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Participants working long hours had a 29 percent greater risk of stroke, and those working long hours for 10 years or more slaved their way into a 45 percent greater risk of stroke. Karen D'souza, The Mercury News, "You’ll be shocked how much working long hours spikes your stroke risk," 21 June 2019 How that woman must have slaved, washing for five others, not counting herself. Bulletin Board, Twin Cities, "Sunday Bulletin Board: Like sands through the hourglass, these are the loads of our lives!," 9 June 2019 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

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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Dictionary Entries near slave

slaunchways

Slav

Slavdom

slave

Slave

slave ant

slave bracelet

Statistics for slave

Last Updated

13 Jul 2019

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
disapproving : 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 How to pronounce slave (audio) \

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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More from Merriam-Webster on slave

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with slave

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for slave

Spanish Central: Translation of slave

Nglish: Translation of slave for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of slave for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about slave

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