\ˈthrȯl \

Definition of thrall 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a state of servitude or submission in thrall to his emotions

b : a state of complete absorption mountains could hold me in thrall with a subtle attraction of their own— Elyne Mitchell

2a : a servant slave : bondman also : serf

b : a person in moral or mental servitude


thralled; thralling; thralls

Definition of thrall (Entry 2 of 2)

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Other Words from thrall


thrall adjective
thralldom or thraldom \ ˈthrȯl-​dəm \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for thrall

Synonyms: Noun

bondage, enslavement, servility, servitude, slavery, thralldom (or thraldom), yoke

Antonyms: Noun

freedom, liberty

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Examples of thrall in a Sentence


I'm not your thrall, so you'll have to pick up after yourself. a people who still bear the scars of having been in thrall for so many years

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

From Kaliningrad to Vladivostok, the nation was in thrall. Rory Smith, New York Times, "Russia Finally Falls, Leaving a Trail of Admirers and Doubters," 8 July 2018 What Scott and Thorpe appear to have in common is an ability to hold others in thrall, relying heavily on their ability to manipulate people. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "Sex, Lies, and Bunnies in A Very English Scandal," 3 July 2018 The audience remained in thrall, with not a single exit. Rick Schultz,, "Andrew Manze leads the L.A. Phil through a night of firsts," 30 Mar. 2018 The industry’s backwardness can be seen in its thrall to paperwork. The Economist, "The global logistics business is going to be transformed by digitisation," 26 Apr. 2018 The England team, still in thrall to the rigidity imposed by their W-M formation, were undone by Hungary’s fluid movement and by a centre forward that refused to stand where the English expected him to., "World Cup Countdown: 7 Days to Go - What if Ferenc Puskas Had Been Fully Fit?," 7 June 2018 The complex uniform was inspired by the highland dress worn while Greece was still in thrall to the Ottoman Turkish empire, although the authentic, long version of the kilt was probably pioneered by southern Albanian settlers allied with the Turks. Washington Post, "Godly giants in kilts: Meet Greece’s best-known soldiers," 24 May 2018 While that particular bill didn’t address the sins of vulture capitalism, what’s clear is this: Despite a financial meltdown and populist unrest among the American electorate, Washington is still in total thrall to Wall Street. Will Bunch,, "Vulture hedge-fund capitalism still devouring U.S. jobs. Will we ever do something? | Will Bunch," 20 Mar. 2018 The light design, too, was in thrall of her Gothic mystique, pulsing and roaming ever so slightly in deep shades of red, white and blue. James Reed,, "Swoops, shrieks and croons: Diamanda Galás transfixes at Palace Theatre," 27 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'thrall.' 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 thrall


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2a


13th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for thrall


Middle English thral, from Old English thræl, from Old Norse thræll

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Statistics for thrall

Last Updated

2 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for thrall

The first known use of thrall was before the 12th century

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Comments on thrall

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


obstinately defiant of authority

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