Definition of galley slave in English:

galley slave


  • 1A person condemned to man the oars in a galley.

    • ‘Like the Baron's son, Pangloss received one hundred strokes to the soles of his feet and was sent to be a galley slave.’
    • ‘It had the practical effect of freeing thousands of Christian galley slaves.’
    • ‘I'll bet John Knox never complained of it, even during his stint as a galley slave.’
    • ‘And I could do nothing but sit there like a galley slave.’
    • ‘He notes that military captives and criminals were available in quantity and reminds us (in interesting detail) of the long tradition of galley slaves at the oars of Mediterranean shipping.’
    1. 1.1 A person who works very hard, typically performing menial or thankless tasks:
      ‘call-centre workers are the galley slaves of the twenty-first century’
      • ‘All we need to remember is that there were many galley slaves but few overseers.’
      • ‘The missive, from Paul Winkler, a former Hollinger galley slave, pointed the OSC to Tubby's and David Radler's self-dealing.’
      • ‘Government galley slaves were angry that they had to shell out $30.00 for the official Christmas do last night, kindly organised for them by Chief Whip Jim Lloyd.’
      • ‘How do those "galley slaves" of the Japanese factory bear such conditions of labour?’
      • ‘"We worked like galley slaves to get them all sorted out."’
      • ‘Since arriving on the scene one year ago, the Liberal appointee has accelerated the review process to ramming speed, using his faithful retainers, naturally, as the galley slaves.’
      • ‘The considerate husband will keep in mind that his wife is a living, throbbing human being, not merely a galley slave to do his bidding.’
      • ‘Men are turning into galley slaves with cooking, washing and ironing duties while women are out on the town - unescorted, for goodness sake.’
      menial, menial worker, slave, galley slave, toiler, lackey
      hard worker, toiler, workhorse, stakhanovite, galley slave
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