from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun One of a class of serfs in ancient Sparta, neither a slave nor a free citizen.
  • noun A person in servitude; a serf.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun One of a class of serfs among the ancient. Spartans who were owned by the state, were bound to the soil under allotment to landholders, and fulfilled all servile functions.
  • noun Hence A serf or slave, in general; a servile person; one subject, to the orders and caprices of another.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A slave in ancient Sparta; a Spartan serf; hence, a slave or serf.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun An individual of the ancient Spartan class of serfs.
  • noun A serf; a slave.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun (Middle Ages) a person who is bound to the land and owned by the feudal lord


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

[From Greek Heilōtes, pl. of Heilōs, Heilōt-.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Latin Helotes, from Ancient Greek (Εἵλωτες), possibly from ἁλίσκομαι ("to be captured, to be made prisoner").


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  • Beany: What's a hee-lot?

    The Colonel: You've ever been broke, sonny?

    Beany: Sure, mostly often.

    The Colonel: All right. You're walking along, not a nickel in your jeans, your free as the wind, nobody bothers ya. Hundreds of people pass you by in every line of buisness: shoes, hats, automobiles, radios, everything, and there all nice lovable people and they lets you alone, is that right? Then you get a hold of some dough and what happens, all those nice sweet lovable people become hee-lots, a lotta heels. They begin to creep up on ya, trying to sell ya something: they get long claws and they get a stranglehold on ya, and you squirm and you duck and you holler and you try to push them away but you haven't got the chance. They gots ya. First thing ya know you own things, a car for instance, now your whole life is messed up with alot more stuff: you get license fees and number plates and gas and oil and taxes and insurance and identification cards and letters and bills and flat tires and dents and traffic tickets and motorcycle cops and tickets and courtrooms and lawers and fines and... a million and one other things. What happens? You're not the free and happy guy you used to be. You need to have money to pay for all those things, so you go after what the other fellas got. There you are, you're a hee-lot yourself.

    August 23, 2007

  • Story of my life. ;-)

    August 23, 2007

  • "In fact, only half her attention was focused on the heavyset gentleman's murmured remarks to his helot, a small young woman in an overall too big for her, with pink streaks in her hair."

    —Diana Gabaldon, A Breath of Snow and Ashes (New York: Bantam Dell, 2005), 976

    February 3, 2010