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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘From the beginning his audience - and there was always an audience - were in thrall to his idiosyncratic and impassioned deliveries.’
    • ‘We want food freed from the grip of science rather than further in thrall to it.’
    • ‘Most courts are still in thrall to local governments.’
    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.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Lowest in the social order were the thralls, or slaves.’
    • ‘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.