Definition of thrall in English:



  • 1literary [mass noun] The state of being in someone's power, or of having great power over someone:

    ‘she was in thrall to her abusive husband’
    • ‘From the beginning his audience - and there was always an audience - were in thrall to his idiosyncratic and impassioned deliveries.’
    • ‘Most courts are still in thrall to local governments.’
    • ‘Another is to suppose that those who disagree with us are in thrall to some evil power.’
    • ‘We live in a world dominated by the private sector and governments in thrall to it.’
    • ‘We want food freed from the grip of science rather than further in thrall to it.’
    power, clutches, hands, control, grip, grasp, yoke
    enslavement, bondage, slavery, subjection, subjugation, servitude, tyranny, oppression, domination, hegemony, supremacy
    View synonyms
  • 2archaic A slave, servant, or captive.

    • ‘Lowest in the social order were the thralls, or slaves.’
    • ‘Later that night, the two flew into the village and laid waste to it, killing some people while making thralls of others.’
    • ‘No, they would not allow themselves to become the helpless thralls of that traitor.’
    • ‘I believe that peasants should be bound to the land as unfree thralls who do the bidding of the freemen without question.’


Old English thrǣl ‘slave’, from Old Norse thræll.