Other forms: thralls

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
  1. noun
    the state of being under the control of another person
    synonyms: 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
  2. noun
    someone held in bondage
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    helot, serf, villein
    (Middle Ages) a person who is bound to the land and owned by the feudal lord
    a serf in ancient Sparta whose status was between that of a slave and a citizen
    cotter, cottier
    a medieval English villein
    type of:
    bond servant
    someone bound to labor without wages
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DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘thrall'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
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