Meaning of SLAVE in English

I. ˈslāv noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English sclave, from Old French or Medieval Latin; Old French esclave slave, from Medieval Latin Sclavus, sclavus Slavic, Slavic held in servitude, slave, from Late Greek Sklabos Slavic, from Sklabēnos of or relating to the Slavs, from Sklabēnoi, plural, Slavs, of Slavic origin; akin to Old Bulgarian Slověne a Slavic group of people in the area of Thessalonike, Old Russian Slověne, an East-Slavic group of people near Novgorod, Slovutich Dnieper river, Serbian Slavnica, a river


a. : a person held in servitude : one that is the chattel of another : bondman , thrall

plantation life with slaves, indentured servants, or tenants — W.M.Kollmorgen

begins her career as a slave , a pretty child bought from miserably poor parents under a contract — Lafcadio Hearn

b. archaic : a despicable person

the … atheist, if earth bear so base a slave — William Cowper

c. obsolete : an inconsequential person : fellow , joker

oh slaves, I can tell you news, news you rascals — Shakespeare


a. : a servile or submissive follower : lackey

his father's most abject slave — Abram Kardiner

b. : a person completely subservient to a dominating influence : one who has surrendered control of himself

all his life he had been a slave to the land, harnessed to the elemental forces — Ellen Glasgow

spineless slaves of tradition — Bennett Cerf

c. : one that labors for another : servant

a civilization in which machines are slaves, and all men may be free — W.H.Camp


(1) : a mechanical device that is directly responsive to another (as an electronic device for firing auxiliary flash bulbs) ; especially : a remote-control device for handling radioactive materials

(2) : slave station

3. : a toiler at hard monotonous work : drudge

slaves in the Pentagon worked nights and through the holidays to revamp the budget — T.R.Phillips

4. : slave ant

II. verb

( slaved ; slaved ; slaving ; slaves )

transitive verb


a. archaic : to reduce to bondage : enslave

thou canst not slave or banish me — John Marston

b. : to make directly responsive to another mechanism

the gyro unit is continuously slaved to a compass — C.G.Yates


a. archaic : to employ at hard labor

Egyptian kings built them monuments, wherein they slaved their whole nation — Martin Lister

b. : to wear out by hard work

bullied … and slaved her half to death — H.G.Evarts

intransitive verb

1. : to work like a slave : toil , drudge

slaved sixteen hours a day for money to buy food — Irish Digest

had to slave so hard to make … a showing at his school work — Archibald Marshall

2. : to traffic in slaves

slaving was still active and profitable, in spite of the best efforts of the missionaries — A.W.Smith

III. adjective

1. : held in servitude : enslaved

born of slave parents

activity to liberate slave peoples in eastern Europe — Quincy Wright


a. : of, relating to, involving, or characteristic of slaves

slave auction

slave owner

slave question

with true slave mentality … sacrifices himself to the group — Priscilla Robertson

b. : used for or restricted to the use of slaves

slave ship

slave quarters

a slave gallery extends across the … end of the nave — American Guide Series: North Carolina

c. : concerned with or dealing in slaves

slave voyage

slave trader


(1) : favoring or legally permitting slavery

slave territory

(2) : based on or characterized by slavery

slave economy

3. : activated 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 bank — New Yorker

specifically : responding to manipulation of the master-end of the apparatus

scientists manipulate radioactive material with intricate slave bands — Time

IV. ˈsläv, -a-, -ȧ-


variant of slav

V. ˈslāv noun

( -s )

Usage: usually capitalized


a. : an Athapaskan people living between the Rocky mountains and the Great Slave lake in the Northwest Territories of Canada — called also Slavey

b. : a member of such people

2. : the language of the Slave people

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.