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

The couple had a granddaughter who married a slave. Marina Pitofsky, USA TODAY, "Maryland DAR names first black officer," 10 July 2018 In the election of 1860, Abraham Lincoln said the question was whether this nation could exist half-slave or half-free. Alexander Heffner, Time, "The American Historical Record Includes Court Cases, Famous Speeches—And Trump’s Tweets. Here’s Why That Matters," 2 July 2018 Mauritania, the descendants of slaves are fighting for equality. Staff, The Christian Science Monitor, "Meanwhile in ... Mongolia, Millennial monks are running the country’s monasteries," 21 June 2018 No law defined the rights of people who were no longer slaves. Martha S. Jones, Time, "How the 14th Amendment's Promise of Birthright Citizenship Redefined America," 9 July 2018 That’s how a few dozen Canadian philistines deprived their neighbors of an opportunity to appreciate the wrenching and challenging songs of slaves. Elliot Kaufman, WSJ, "A Social-Justice Mob Takes Montreal," 6 July 2018 The sweetness came at a very high cost The exhibit also addresses how as the demand for cacao and sugar rose, millions of slaves harvested these ingredients. Carol Motsinger, Cincinnati.com, "Think you know - and love - chocolate? Well, you don't know it all," 28 June 2018 The picnic was for Juneteenth, which commemorates the emancipation of slaves in Texas on June 19, 1865 — two months after the Confederate army surrendered, ending the Civil War, and three years after the Emancipation Proclamation. Otis R. Taylor Jr., SFChronicle.com, "Oakland city politics: Running against Desley Brooks? You may run a risk," 22 June 2018 The economic significance of this form of exploitation of female slaves should not be underestimated. Jenn M. Jackson, Teen Vogue, "Separating Children From Parents is Shocking And Inhumane — It Is Also An American Tradition," 22 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 Perhaps three out of every four slaving voyages are now documented in the database. Smithsonian, "A Digital Archive of Slave Voyages Details the Largest Forced Migration in History," 1 May 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

7 Sep 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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