slave

noun
\ ˈslāv How to pronounce slave (audio) \
plural slaves

Definition of slave

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : a person held in forced servitude
2 disapproving : a person who is completely subservient to a dominating influence a slave to fashion/technology
3 : a device (such as the printer of a computer) that is directly responsive to another
4 : drudge, toiler

slave

verb
slaved; slaving; slaves

Definition of slave (Entry 2 of 3)

intransitive verb

1 : to work very hard for long hours or under difficult conditions : drudge
2 : to traffic in people to be sold into slavery

transitive verb

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

slave

adjective

Definition of slave (Entry 3 of 3)

1a : of, relating to, involving, or used for slavery or enslaved people slave traders a slave auction slave owners a slave economy The relation between freedom and literacy became the compelling theme of the slave narratives, the great body of printed books that ex-slaves generated to assert their common humanity with white Americans and to indict the system that had oppressed them.— 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

Synonyms & Antonyms for slave

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Noun

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Examples of slave in a Sentence

Noun He's a slave to fashion trends. 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.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Because their mother was a slave, the children were considered slaves, too. Bob Carlton | Bcarlton@al.com, al, 28 Apr. 2022 The Fugitive Slave Law was enacted as part of the compromise of 1850, under which California was admitted to the union as a free state and other territories acquired as spoils from the Mexican War to choose whether to become slave states or free. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 9 Mar. 2022 As a safe haven from enslavement, the village flourished well enough to attract the enmity of plantation owners in nearby slave states, who saw it as a potent symbol of resistance and petitioned the federal government to take action. John Anderson, WSJ, 27 Jan. 2022 Inside was a copy of a county slave schedule from 1860 that her mother-in-law had discovered. New York Times, 4 July 2021 One of the oldest Black sisterhoods, the Sisters of the Holy Family, formed in New Orleans in 1842 because white sisterhoods in Louisiana, including the slave-holding Ursuline order, refused to accept African Americans. David Crary, Chicago Tribune, 30 Apr. 2022 One of the oldest Black sisterhoods, the Sisters of the Holy Family, formed in New Orleans in 1842 because white sisterhoods in Louisiana, including the slave-holding Ursuline order, refused to accept African Americans. David Crary, ajc, 30 Apr. 2022 Princeville — named in honor of Turner Prince, an African American carpenter who was born a slave and became one of the town’s first residents — survived multiple attempts by white neighbors to have its charter revoked. Tom Foreman Jr., USA TODAY, 28 Apr. 2022 In experiencing the irreconcilable contradiction between the reality of slave ownership and the ideal of freedom, in other words, the American revolutionaries weren’t unlike the children of Israel. Ira Stoll, WSJ, 28 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The first wave of refugees was from the Darfur region of Sudan, followed by Eritreans escaping brutal military dictatorship and forced conscription that has been compared to slave labor. Sara Miller Llana, The Christian Science Monitor, 21 Jan. 2022 In other words, the founding fathers were well aware of the economic advantage to slave owners of limiting the Atlantic slave trade. New York Times, 23 Dec. 2021 Change your scenery and let someone else slave over the stove. Heidi Mitchell, WSJ, 19 Oct. 2021 Another school in Utah — Centennial Middle School in Provo — randomly assigned students to be slaves and slave masters for a project about the Civil War. Courtney Tanner, The Salt Lake Tribune, 2 Dec. 2021 Born to slave parents in 1838 in Arkansas, Bass Reeves was a member of the Confederate Army during the Civil War. Okla Jones, Essence, 28 Oct. 2021 Another school in Utah — Centennial Middle School in Provo — came under fire in the spring for randomly assigning students to be slaves and slave masters for a project about the Civil War. Courtney Tanner, The Salt Lake Tribune, 19 Aug. 2021 Sampson presents a comprehensive view of the obstacles the young poet faced: illness, devastating personal losses, fluctuating family fortunes (which were tied to slave labor in Jamaica), and rigid cultural and social norms. Elizabeth Lund, The Christian Science Monitor, 23 Sep. 2021 Historians have noted that this harkens back to the Fugitive Slave laws of the 19th century, which offered cash incentives to white Americans to turn in their Black neighbors to slave catchers. Jenny Singer, Glamour, 9 Sep. 2021 See More

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.

First Known Use of slave

Noun

13th 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 13th century

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Dictionary Entries Near slave

Slavdom

slave

Slave

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Statistics for slave

Last Updated

16 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Slave.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/slave. Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for slave

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
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

Slave geographical name

\ ˈslāv How to pronounce Slave (audio) \

Definition of Slave

river 258 miles (415 kilometers) long in Canada flowing from the western end of Lake Athabasca north into Great Slave Lake

More from Merriam-Webster on 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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