slave labor


variants US slave labor or chiefly British slave labour
: work that is done by enslaved people or by people who are treated as though they are enslaved
prisoners being forced to do slave labor
a slave labor camp
: enslaved people doing work
The pyramids were built by slave labor.
slave laborer noun
(chiefly US) or chiefly British slave labourer
plural slave laborers
… The Statue of Freedom—the figure of a Native American woman warrior that stands on the dome—was cast in bronze by slave laborers in 1863 and hoisted up there. Jack E. White

Examples of slave labor in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Noa is left for dead, and whatever friends and loved ones who have survived are led away, to be used as slave labor for …something. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 8 May 2024 Here, Hondo begins a large-scale recapitulation, in a handful of scenes, of the grimly infuriating history of French colonialism from the seventeenth century to the twentieth, and of a reliance on slave labor that lasted in the Caribbean colonies until the mid-nineteenth century. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 20 Mar. 2024 Paul Trible himself owns an antebellum plantation in Kilmarnock, Virginia, called Gascony, which was operated by slave labor in the 18th and 19th centuries. Brandi Kellam, ProPublica, 22 Dec. 2023 But Western business is choosing not to invest for a myriad of reasons including China’s use of slave labor and the absence of the rule of law. James Rogan, Washington Examiner, 15 Jan. 2024 Labor groups have been pushing the issue ever since the construction of Silvery Towers, a pair of downtown high-rises that were linked to human trafficking and slave labor in the late 2010s, and whose contractor is now in prison. Gabriel Greschler, The Mercury News, 24 Jan. 2024 There was a time when cotton was king and Black slave labor built the stature and wealth of America, a brutal time in history the legacy of which stubbornly persists to this day in our economic, political, legal, and education systems. Roy Swan, Fortune, 15 Jan. 2024 The North’s industrialization contrasted starkly with the South’s reliance on agriculture and slave labor, leading to sectional tensions. Letter Writers, Twin Cities, 1 Jan. 2024 Sugar Land, which was discovered in the mid-1800s, had a thriving sugar plantation that was built using slave labor. Kareema Bee, Travel + Leisure, 12 Dec. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'slave labor.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1802, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of slave labor was in 1802

Dictionary Entries Near slave labor

Cite this Entry

“Slave labor.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 May. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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