slave state


Definition of slave state

1 : a state of the U.S. in which slavery was legal until the Civil War
2 : a nation subjected to totalitarian rule

Examples of slave state in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The old south, the slave states have a power that must be unleashed. Lisa Donovan,, "Wave of Democratic presidential hopefuls heading to Chicago for Rev. Jesse Jackson’s convention," 27 June 2019 The federal government was prevented from introducing a head tax on slaves, and free states were forbidden from harboring runaways from slave states. Nicholas Guyatt, The New York Review of Books, "How Proslavery Was the Constitution?," 6 June 2019 Most historians now agree that the slave states seceded to protect slavery. James Oakes, The New York Review of Books, "The Great Divide," 23 May 2019 If those new states were slave states, pro-slavery jurists from them became candidates for the Supreme Court. Allen C. Guelzo, WSJ, "Kavanaugh May Be the Democrats’ Waterloo," 5 Oct. 2018 Rumors fueled rioting Racial tensions ran high in Cincinnati before the Civil War because of its proximity to Kentucky, a slave state. John Kiesewetter,, "Civil unrest woven into city's history," 8 June 2018 Maryland was a slave state, of course, but New York? John Kelly, Washington Post, "Naming rights — and wrongs: Montgomery students reveal uncomfortable truths," 21 May 2018 And Texas, a slave state, lost land that later became territories that could determine their own status, but Congress compensated Texas with $10 million to pay its debt. Allan B. Schwartz,, "Medical Mystery: Did this president suffer a death by cherries?," 3 May 2018 These states in the middle – caught on the line that separated slave states from free before the Civil War – were not staunchly abolitionist, like some of their more northern neighbors. Hannah Sparling,, "Neo-Nazis have set up shop here. This is why.," 21 Mar. 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of slave state

1809, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about slave state

Statistics for slave state

Last Updated

11 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for slave state

The first known use of slave state was in 1809

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for slave state

slave state


English Language Learners Definition of slave state

: a state of the U.S. in which slavery was legal until the American Civil War

More from Merriam-Webster on slave state

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with slave state

Comments on slave state

What made you want to look up slave state? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!