\ ˈthrȯl How to pronounce thrall (audio) \

Definition of thrall

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a state of servitude or submission usually used with inin thrall to his emotions
b : a state of complete absorption usually used with in… 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)

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from thrall


thrall adjective
thralldom or thraldom \ ˈthrȯl-​dəm How to pronounce thraldom (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for thrall

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Noun

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of thrall in a Sentence

Noun 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 The brains behind the operation, Maren pities Devin but is in thrall to her own problems, drinking wine by the case and easing her raging insecurity by working all day. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "A Satire That Demolishes the Influencer Industry," 1 July 2020 There’s less ambiguity there, after all: Stanley is an unambiguous villain from minute one, a preening, flirty buffoon who constantly undermines Shirley’s artistic talent, and Fred is quickly in his thrall. David Sims, The Atlantic, "An Unconventional Biopic About a Horror Master," 8 June 2020 Biden these days is not a candidate who is in the thrall of handlers. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, "Joe Biden wants to be a normal president in a highly abnormal age.," 6 Jan. 2020 Yet, despite the irony of its titular cliché, High Off Life finds Future still in the thrall of Adderall, codeine, and promethazine. Gary Suarez,, "Future stays in his narcotized comfort zone on High Off Life," 19 May 2020 Today, Scotland is in thrall to a new religion, the Church of Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion, which is just as menacing and humorless, and to which the Scottish government kowtows just as readily. Madeleine Kearns, National Review, "Scotland Swaps One Blasphemy Law for Another," 29 Apr. 2020 And the base needs red meat, according to Trump loyalists who fear that the president is in thrall to his scientific advisers, who are advocating a go-slow approach to reopening the economy. Rob Crilly, Washington Examiner, "Trump criticism of WHO and China stokes America First base," 16 Apr. 2020 Wiener is our guide to a realm whose denizens have been as in thrall to a dizzying sense of momentum as consumers have been. Ismail Muhammad, The Atlantic, "Inside Tech’s Fever Dream," 8 Feb. 2020 Many audience members, of course, won't mind the manipulation at all, happy to be in thrall to the positive messages the film sends out. Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter, "'I Still Believe': Film Review," 11 Mar. 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about thrall

Time Traveler for thrall

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for thrall

Last Updated

9 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Thrall.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on thrall

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for thrall

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with thrall

Britannica English: Translation of thrall for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about thrall

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).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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!