Definitions

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

  • n. A system under which a nominally free social class or a religious, national, or racial minority is permanently oppressed and degraded.
  • n. A type of symbiosis, as among certain ants, in which one species is dominant and makes the members of another species perform the tasks required for their mutual survival.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The permanent oppression of a nominally free group of people
  • n. A form of symbiosis in which one species is forced to perform tasks for another, for their mutual benefit

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The condition of the Helots or slaves in Sparta; slavery.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The maintenance, by animals of one species, of individuals of another species in return for their labor as servants.
  • n. In botany, a peculiar form of symbiosis in which one organism bears to another the relation of slave to master; noting especially the relation of the algal to the fungal component of a lichen: opposed to mutualistic symbiosis..

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