from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A wage earner whose livelihood is completely dependent on the wages earned.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. someone who feels compelled to work in return for wages in order to survive
Sorry, no etymologies found.
But excepting this consideration, and taking the circumstances of the wage slave from the material point of view alone, I hold it beyond question that the average lot of the chattel slave of 1860 was preferable to that of the modern slave of the Beef Trust, the Steel Trust, or the Coal Trust.