Definition of slavery in English:



  • 1[mass noun] The state of being a slave:

    ‘thousands had been sold into slavery’
    • ‘In Sweden, factors like famine and civil war have driven the Dinha tribes from their land in the South leading to many being sold into slavery.’
    • ‘Had Joseph not been kidnapped and sold into slavery, he would not have been in a position to help his family in their time of need.’
    • ‘When she escaped the first time, Nataly was taken in by a Moldovan woman who then sold her back into slavery.’
    • ‘But fears are growing that orphaned children are being trafficked by unscrupulous criminals and sold into slavery and prostitution.’
    • ‘Moreover, there have been UN reports of children being sold into slavery and prostitution.’
    • ‘You and I know and do not believe that life is so dear and peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery.’
    • ‘Nothing was heard of it again and it is thought that those who survived the voyage were sold into slavery in north Africa.’
    • ‘Set against the American Civil War, this city was the scene of another kind of slavery and subjugation.’
    • ‘In third-world countries, unwanted babies are often abandoned or sold into slavery.’
    • ‘And in China more than 15,000 women will be sold into sexual slavery each year.’
    • ‘A police spokesman in the capital Abuja said authorities were looking into whether there were plans to sell some into slavery.’
    • ‘The stronger ones would be sold into slavery or servitude.’
    • ‘It was at that age that he was sold into slavery by a group of Irish marauders that raided his village.’
    • ‘What happened to the Scots sold into slavery in Barbados?’
    • ‘When Nicholas heard that the father was sick with grief that he might have to sell his daughters into slavery, he knew he must help.’
    • ‘Few women suspect they will be sold into sexual slavery.’
    • ‘Young women being sold into sex slavery is not unheard of in Aruba.’
    • ‘They insisted that since they had lived on free soil, their bonds of slavery were no longer valid.’
    • ‘A thriving trade in child abductions is rife throughout the country which sees many young children sold into slavery or the sex trade.’
    • ‘She might as well have been going to a Calcutta slum or sold into slavery.’
    bondage, enslavement, servitude, subjugation, thraldom, thrall, serfdom, vassalage, enthralment, yoke
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    1. 1.1 The practice or system of owning slaves:
      ‘he was resolved to impose a number of reforms, including the abolition of slavery’
      • ‘Here is one man's story about the practice of slavery in the country.’
      • ‘I have also argued that these consequences of the wide acceptance of the race idea helped to perpetuate and to rationalize the practice of slavery.’
      • ‘Of all the cruel practices of slavery, Douglass considers the fate of his grandmother most unacceptable.’
      • ‘Mauritania is one of the last places on earth where slavery is widely practiced.’
      • ‘This year the UN will organize exhibitions, concerts and studies meant to deepen knowledge about the banned practice of slavery.’
      • ‘He laughs and says he does not expect his slaves to be honest, as the system of slavery forces them to resort to cheating and dishonesty just to get by.’
      • ‘It also says that the ‘practice of slavery constitutes a crime against humanity.’’
      • ‘It comes as a surprise to missionaries arriving fresh from the west of Ireland to hear that slavery has been practiced in Brazil right up to the present time.’
      • ‘Ruffin reasoned that hirers and owners should hold the same power, else the entire system of slavery would crumble.’
      • ‘It is quite understandable that a religion practiced under slavery would emphasize evil spirits.’
      • ‘The English developed a sugar plantation system that thrived until the abolition of slavery, when the system collapsed.’
      • ‘Elsewhere in Africa, there are still societies that practice slavery.’
      • ‘And the biggest difference between the two social systems was slavery.’
      • ‘But should current day white Americans pay reparations to descendants of blacks for slavery that was practiced more than a century ago?’
      • ‘It is not hard to believe the very worst of any country where a system like slavery has existed for centuries.’
      • ‘In his thesis, he described in detail the places and tribal groups where slavery is still practiced.’
      • ‘When slavery was first practiced in the Americas during the early colonial period, it was purely for economic use.’
      • ‘Lincoln sold a war against slavery as a war for the Union.’
      • ‘Despite global condemnation, the international community continues to be confronted with practices analogous to slavery.’
      • ‘This is a nation that practiced slavery, genocide of the native peoples, Jim Crow apartheid and war mongering.’
      bondage, enslavement, servitude, subjugation, thraldom, thrall, serfdom, vassalage, enthralment, yoke
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    2. 1.2 A condition of having to work very hard without proper remuneration or appreciation:
      ‘female domestic slavery’
      • ‘Experts say police corruption - in Italy and in the native countries of these women - makes it harder to battle sex slavery.’
      • ‘She was too intelligent and too well educated for domestic slavery.’
      • ‘In turn, these companies have taken advantage of dire drought conditions in parts of Brazil to entice workers into slavery.’
      • ‘Then I shrug and feel the chains of urban slavery slip from my shoulders in my sweat.’
      • ‘She is working hard towards cutting out any need for slavery in her life and asserts her right to work part-time without it being seen as a sign of marginalisation.’
      • ‘Women have been abducted by armed men, detained for a time in conditions of sexual slavery, raped and made to perform domestic chores.’
      • ‘Thirty two years later, the life of the Bahamian is still sadly crippled by the manacles of marginalisation and the chains of economic slavery.’
      • ‘Hardly any women worked but most spent 32 hours a week on unpaid domestic slavery.’
      • ‘The nation thus becomes the new justification for domestic slavery.’
      • ‘Eastern Europe's subordination is a feminized or festishized position: domestic slavery in the world order.’
      • ‘They would be back in L.A. a whole month before Uni resumed, but, as Jessi had said, it would be good to get settled prior to the hard slavery of the final year.’
      • ‘Thousands of North Korean men, women and children are forced to work and often perish under conditions of slavery.’
      • ‘Also, with the competitive slavery of the profit system gone, we could spend more on researching environmentally safe methods to boost production.’
      • ‘More trade will not break the chains of debt slavery.’
      drudgery, toil, hard labour, grind, sweated labour
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    3. 1.3 Excessive dependence on or devotion to something:
      ‘slavery to tradition’
      • ‘We haven't just gone for a compromise, we've given in, capitulated and sold ourselves into slavery.’
      • ‘It is not loving for the Church to encourage us to live in slavery to this mortal flesh.’
      • ‘Paul does not explain what comprises this slavery to idols.’
      • ‘He is saying that we have been set free from slavery to the reign of sin.’
      • ‘And just as they were delivered from their slavery, we, too, have been delivered by Jesus from our slavery to sin.’
      • ‘They look at us coquettishly, which makes their slavery to fashion all the more pathetic.’
      • ‘Such arguments only show the mental slavery to which these people have succumbed.’
      • ‘I grew up under the heavy yoke of religion and its mental slavery to fear, and the economic domination of the church in the name of God.’
      • ‘Thank you for calling me out of my slavery to the bottle and my worship of alcohol.’
      • ‘Feminism made it okay for me to have that abortion, an act that saved me from twenty years of slavery to something I wasn't even ready for.’
      • ‘Our symbol of freedom becomes an emblem of our slavery to an insane idea.’
      • ‘The bonds of familial affection threaten to mutate into the bonds of slavery at a moment's notice.’
      • ‘Augustine was in a garden in Milan, overwhelmed by his sinfulness, especially his slavery to sexual desire.’
      • ‘Empower us to live in your great Spirit, standing firm against all that would imprison your people in slavery to worldly idols.’
      • ‘A fear of missing the train, a slavery to time, has provided ten minutes before the train leaves.’
      • ‘The one response that can rescue us from this slavery to our own works is the presentation of the Christian message as the only truly liberating force.’
      • ‘The modern day slavery of the capitalist system is exposed in a satirical and playful way.’
      • ‘Their ever-shorter skirts and tight blouses might look rebellious, but their pack mentality guarantees their slavery to fashion.’
      • ‘No enslavement and no tyranny are as ruthless and as demanding as slavery to physical desires and passions.’
      • ‘Scotland, he said, was being sold into slavery, its privileges were being lost, its freedoms curtailed.’