When you're in thrall to someone, you are under their control in some way. If you're being held as a hostage, you're in thrall to your captor.

You can be in thrall to anything that holds you captive or controls your thoughts or actions, like an addiction, a disease, or a cult leader. The Old English word that thrall comes from literally means "slave" or "servant." Another word with the same root as thrall is enthrall, which is sort of a friendlier version of the same idea. If you're enthralled by someone, you're captivated or fascinated, rather than "held in bondage."

Definitions of thrall

n the state of being under the control of another person

bondage, slavery, thraldom, thralldom
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bonded labor
a practice in which employers give high-interest loans to workers whose entire families then labor at low wages to pay off the debt; the practice is illegal in the United States
state of subjection to an owner or master or forced labor imposed as punishment
serfdom, serfhood, vassalage
the state of a serf
villainage, villeinage
the legal status or condition of servitude of a villein or feudal serf
Type of:
subjection, subjugation
forced submission to control by others

n someone held in bondage

helot, serf, villein
(Middle Ages) a person who is bound to the land and owned by the feudal lord
cotter, cottier
a medieval English villein
Type of:
bond servant
someone bound to labor without wages

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