One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A member of a class of serfs in ancient Sparta, intermediate in status between slaves and citizens.
- ‘Plato, for example, remarked that the helot system was the most controversial example of servitude in Greece.’
- ‘The Spartans, he said, would never dare attack Attica with an Athenian army in their homeland, and an invasion would likely spur a revolt of the helots.’
- ‘He next persuaded Athens to send him with a large hoplite force to help Sparta against the helots, now in revolt.’
- ‘Before the wolves can get him, however, he is rescued by a wise old shepherd and brought up as a helot, one of the aboriginal population the Spartans have enslaved.’
- ‘Boeotia was agriculturally rich but had neither Athens' silver nor Sparta's helots.’
- 1.1 A serf or slave.
- ‘The Nazis apparently intended to reduce Slavs such as the Poles to the status of helots.’
- ‘The new, networked society of global helots is here and now.’
- ‘The ultimate aim was to make South Africa a ‘white man's country’ built on black helots.’
- ‘In addition to being super-exploited, Dubai's helots are also expected to be generally invisible.’
- ‘My view is that we really need a new Home Secretary who is wedded to the values our democracy is supposed to represent, not someone who seems to have it as his mission to turn us into a nation of helots.’
Via Latin from Greek Heilōtes (plural), traditionally taken as referring to Helos, a Laconian town whose inhabitants were enslaved.
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