Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A group of animals, prisoners, or slaves chained together in a line.
  • transitive v. To fasten together in a coffle.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A line of people or animals fastened together, especially a chain of prisoners or slaves.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A gang of negro slaves being driven to market.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A train or gang of slaves transported or marched for sale.

Etymologies

Arabic qāfila, caravan, feminine active participle of qafala, to close, return; see qpl in Semitic roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Arabic قافلة (qāfila, "caravan"). (Wiktionary)

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