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

slave

verb
slaved; slaving

Definition of slave (Entry 2 of 4)

intransitive verb

1 : to work like a slave : drudge
2 : to traffic in slaves

transitive verb

1 : to make directly responsive to another mechanism
2 archaic : enslave

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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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 Klan and other white supremacists terrorized and murdered former slaves; nativists lynched Italian immigrants and shot Jews. Diane Roberts, The New Republic, "Celebrating 150 Years of Simulated Warfare," 6 Nov. 2019 But Tubman now finds her calling: bringing slaves north to freedom. Jocelyn Noveck, Detroit Free Press, "Star Cynthia Erivo is engaging in imperfect ‘Harriet’," 31 Oct. 2019 After years of research, seven locations in Houston have been designated historically significant sites for the United Nations Educational Science and Cultural Organization slave route project. Chevall Pryce, Houston Chronicle, "Lone Star College students searching for artifacts in Freedmen’s Town," 30 Oct. 2019 Overall, about 29% of the people questioned support reparations, or payment to African Americans whose family members were slaves, according to the poll conducted in September of nearly 1,300 black, white and Hispanic Americans. Scottie Andrew, CNN, "Nearly 75% of African Americans support reparations for slavery. Only 15% of white Americans do, a poll says," 28 Oct. 2019 Al-Baghdadi also promoted the idea that while Muslims must follow Allah, non-Muslims are the slaves of Muslims. Tara Law, Time, "Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Is Dead. Here's What to Know About the Deceased Islamic State Leader," 27 Oct. 2019 This production uses some monumental scenery by Michael Yeargan and evocative lighting by Chris Rynne, but there are no soldiers or slaves and no triumphal march. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: Power-voiced princesses highlight San Diego Opera’s season-opening ‘Aida’," 20 Oct. 2019 The rest of the workforce—a full third of the Roman population—were slaves. Bret Stetka, Scientific American, "Ancient Teeth Reveal Social Stratification Dates Back to Bronze Age Societies," 11 Oct. 2019 Still, too many of us are slaves to our email and instant messaging channels. Doug Claffey, ExpressNews.com, "How is technology changing your workplace culture?," 10 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Freedom and democracy are more important than slaving ourselves away for money. Vivienne Chow, Quartz, "Hong Kong’s protesters are trying to break free from the “old seafood” generation," 27 Aug. 2019 These recipes beg to be made ahead, but if the idea of slaving over a hot Instant Pot all afternoon gives you any form of discomfort, pick just one and tell your picnic pals to pack the rest of the basket. Lisa Futterman, chicagotribune.com, "How to Instant Pot your picnic, with recipes for pate, savory cheesecake and dessert," 18 July 2019 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

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 2

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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Statistics for slave

Last Updated

16 Nov 2019

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
How to pronounce Slave (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for slave

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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