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

  • n. One, such as a slave or serf, who is held in bondage.
  • n. One who is intellectually or morally enslaved.
  • n. Servitude; bondage: "a people in thrall to the miracles of commerce” ( Lewis H. Lapham).
  • transitive v. Archaic To enslave.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. One who is enslaved or mind-controlled.
  • n. The state of being under the control of another person.
  • v. To make a thrall.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Of or pertaining to a thrall; in the condition of a thrall; bond; enslaved.
  • n. A slave; a bondman.
  • n. Slavery; bondage; servitude; thraldom.
  • n. A shelf; a stand for barrels, etc.
  • transitive v. To enslave.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A slave; a serf; a bondman; a captive.
  • n. One who is a slave to some desire, appetite, spell, or other influence; one who is in moral bondage.
  • n. Thraldom, literal or figurative; bondage; slavery; subjection.
  • n. A shelf or stand; a stand for barrels.
  • Enslaved; bond; subjugated.
  • Figuratively, subject; enthralled.
  • To deprive of liberty; enslave.
  • Figuratively, to put in subjection to some power or influence; enthrall.

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

  • n. someone held in bondage
  • n. the state of being under the control of another person


Middle English, from Old English thrǣl, from Old Norse thrǣll.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Old English þrǣl, from Old Norse þræll ("slave") whence the Icelandic þræll ("slave"); according to ODS probably akin to Old High German drigil, servant, to the Gothic 𐌸𐍂𐌰𐌲𐌾𐌰𐌽 (þragjan) and to the Old English þrægan, to run (Wiktionary)



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • its penetrating ammonia scent held us in thrall

    August 25, 2011

  • He might be in sexual thrall to Isabel, he might even love her and the danger she represented, but I didn't think his heart and mind were wholly committed to her. -Charlaine Harris, Living Dead in Dallas

    December 11, 2010

  • From the OED online:

    One who is in bondage to a lord or master; a villein, serf, bondman, slave; also, in vaguer use, a servant, subject; transf. one whose liberty is forfeit; a captive, prisoner of war.
    Usage: c950 Lindisfarne Gospels, Mark x. 44 "And sua huæ see wælle in iuh formest wosa bie allra ræl." 991 Laws of Æthelred II. c. 5 §1 "yf Englisc man Deniscne ræl ofslea, ylde hine mid punde."


    March 7, 2007