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 In August 1825, Sam Scomp, a 15-year-old runaway slave, learned the hard way. Eric Herschthal, The New Republic, "An Early Case For Reparations," 16 Oct. 2019 The happiness, the high table, the low table, the big house, the fields, the slaves, the jook joints, the fish fries. Michael Russell | The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, "For one night, Portland was the unlikely center of African-American cooking in the United States," 17 Sep. 2019 But many bishops and priests already possessed slaves, and the Vatican enslaved Africans to man its ships. Joseph Hellweg, Quartz Africa, "Africa’s Catholic Church faces competition and a troubled legacy even as it grows," 12 Sep. 2019 Taking blame from the buyer of slaves, and placing it on the seller, distorts history. Kelley Fanto Deetz, The Conversation, "Setting the historical record straight for the critics of The New York Times project on slavery in America," 23 Aug. 2019 And chisel away the slave owners on Mount Rushmore? Letters To The Editor, The Mercury News, "Letter: Painting over our sordid past does harm to all of us," 8 July 2019 Law and custom have always purposefully obfuscated the fatherhood of certain categories of men: the slave owner, the priest, the colonizer, the soldier. The Conversation, oregonlive.com, "Who’s is your daddy? It’s not all about DNA," 16 June 2019 Captive State PG13 The world has been taken over by extraterrestrials and the humans are their captive slaves. Guy Hanford, Ramona Sentinel, "Flickers: ‘Shaft,’ ‘Men in Black International,’ ‘Dead Don’t Die’ open Friday," 13 June 2019 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Whatever the reason, come Thanksgiving, a whole nation of cooks sequester themselves in the kitchen to slave over a hot oven and multiple pans on the stove. Chuck Blount, ExpressNews.com, "A whole Thanksgiving meal cooked on the grill and smoker," 20 Nov. 2019 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

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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Time Traveler for slave

Time Traveler

The first known use of slave was in the 14th century

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Statistics for slave

Last Updated

30 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Slave.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/slaves. Accessed 5 December 2019.

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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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