American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A slave or convict forced to ply an oar of a galley.
- n. A person assigned to perform tedious or menial tasks; a drudge.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A person condemned for a crime to work at the oar on board a galley. This practice no longer exists, but the French still use the equivalent term galérien interchangeably with forçat (which see).
- n. A compositor, jocosely regarded as bound to the “galley.”
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. a person condemned, often as a punishment for crime, to work at the oar on board a galley.
- n. a laborer who is obliged to do menial work
- n. a slave condemned to row in a galley
“And I caught my great, radiant vision of Mr. Pike, galley slave of the race, and a driver of men under men greater than he; the faithful henchman, the able sailorman, battered and grizzled, branded and galled, the servant of the sweep-head that made mastery of the sea.”
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