slave state


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

Examples of slave state in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web But during the Civil War, Maryland was a fractured slave state that very nearly joined the Confederacy. Gillian Brockell, Washington Post, 10 Sep. 2023 Being free and Black in a slave state was likely what spurred the Donnegans to move to Springfield by 1847, their descendants say. Darcel Rockett, Chicago Tribune, 10 Sep. 2023 Lewis, a member of the task force, said those areas extend beyond slavery itself, precluding arguments that California should not be responsible for reparations having not been a slave state. Marc Ramirez, USA TODAY, 4 May 2023 California was not a slave state, but more than 4,000 enslaved Black people were taken there between 1850 and 1860, typically by plantation owners, to work in the gold mines. Curtis Bunn, NBC News, 13 June 2023 One of the first African Americans to graduate from a previously all-white college or university in a former slave state, Clay was headed for a job at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to create a radiation tracking software system mapping the aftermath of a nuclear explosion. Jessica Guynn, USA TODAY, 7 June 2023 Between 1977 and 2005, some 90% of all executions occurred in former slave states. Patrik Jonsson, The Christian Science Monitor, 2 June 2023 California’s Fugitive Slave Law of 1852, which authorized slaveholders to use violent means to capture enslaved people who arrived in California before its statehood and escaped, or refused to return to slave states with their enslaver, was rare among free states. Taryn Luna, Los Angeles Times, 7 May 2023 Missouri was a slave state that never seceded from the Union. Chadd Scott, Forbes, 21 Apr. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'slave state.' 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

1809, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of slave state was in 1809

Dictionary Entries Near slave state

Cite this Entry

“Slave state.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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