I. slave 1 /sleɪv/ BrE AmE noun [countable]
[ Date: 1200-1300 ; Language: Old French ; Origin: esclave , from Medieval Latin sclavus , from Sclavus ( ⇨ ↑ Slavic ); because in the early Middle Ages many Slavic people in central Europe were slaves ]
1 . someone who is owned by another person and works for them for no money
the slave trade (=the buying and selling of slaves, especially Africans who were taken to America)
2 . be a slave to/of something to be so strongly influenced by something that you cannot make your own decisions – used to show disapproval:
a slave to fashion
II. slave 2 BrE AmE verb [intransitive always + adverb/preposition]
to work very hard with little time to rest
slave away (at something)
I’ve been slaving away at this report.
He’s been slaving over his history essay.
slave (away) over a hot stove (=cook – used humorously)