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See also: Helot



From Latin Hīlōta, from Ancient Greek Εἵλωτες (Heílōtes), possibly from ἁλίσκομαι (halískomai, to be captured, to be made prisoner) or from Ἕλος (Hélos, Elos), a Laconian town.


  • IPA(key): /ˈhɛlət/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛlət


helot (plural helots)

  1. (historical, Ancient Greece) A member of the ancient Spartan class of serfs.
    • 1942, “Erato”, in George Rawlinson, transl., The Persian Wars[1], translation of original by Herodotus:
      [] when one of their kings dies, not only the Spartans, but a certain number of the country people from every part of Laconia are forced, whether they will or no, to attend the funeral. So these persons and the helots, and likewise the Spartans themselves, flock together to the number of several thousands, men and women intermingled; and all of them smite their foreheads violently, and weep and wall without stint, saying always that their last king was the best.
  2. A serf; a slave.
    • 1910 January 12, Ameen Rihani, “Probing the Trivial”, in The Book of Khalid, New York, N.Y.: Dodd, Mead and Company, published October 1911, →OCLC, book the first (In the Exchange), pages 10–11:
      A man who conceives and writes a great book, my friend, has done more work than all the helots that laboured on these pyramidal futilities.
    • 1959, Anthony Burgess, Beds in the East (The Malayan Trilogy), published 1972, page 611:
      All wore a costume suggestive of a more tranquil and prosperous age than this — Dame Clara Butt singing, in a voice not quite so deep as Arumugam's, 'Land of Hope and Glory', the gold squeezed from tropical helots enhancing the upper-class comforts of a cold climate.
    • 2014, Astra Taylor, quoting Barbara Ehrenreich, chapter 2, in The People's Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age, Henry Holt and Company, →ISBN:
      “In part, the blame falls on the corporate elite,” Barbara Ehrenreich wrote back in 1989, “which demands ever more bankers and lawyers, on the one hand, and low-paid helots on the other.” These low-paid helots are now unpaid interns and networked amateurs.

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  1. nominative plural of helo




Borrowed from Ancient Greek Εἵλωτες (Heílōtes).


helot c

  1. helot

Usage notes[edit]

Usually in the plural.


Declension of helot 
Singular Plural
Indefinite Definite Indefinite Definite
Nominative helot heloten heloter heloterna
Genitive helots helotens heloters heloternas

See also[edit]