half-free

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English *half-free, from Old English healffrēo (half-free), equivalent to half- +‎ free. Cognate with Dutch halfvrij (half-free), German halbfrei (half-free), Danish halvfri (half-free).

Adjective[edit]

half-free (not comparable)

  1. Halfway or partially free.
    • 2013, Matthew W. Cody, Peter Stuyvesant: Dutch Leader of New Netherland (New York):
      Many half-free slaves were forced to continue to work for the Dutch West India Company even after they were set free, and the company even required half-free blacks to pay a yearly tax consisting of crops that they had raised on their farms.
    • 2014, William Easterly, The Tyranny of Experts:
      Half-free” meant that the slaves themselves were now free, but their children would return to slavery. The Dutch gave a half-free slave named Gratia d'Angola a 10acre farm in the 1640s, centered around what is today one block of Greene Street between Prince Street and Houston Street, in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan.
    • 2015, Ernst van den Hemel, Asja Szafraniec, Words: Religious Language Matters:
      Yet first, the anonymous rabbis and students begin the sequence of explorations in legality of marriage between half-free people by using more general rules of betrothal.

Synonyms[edit]