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Etymology 1[edit]

From slave +‎ -ery.


  • IPA(key): /ˈsleɪvəɹi/, /ˈsleɪvɹi/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -eɪvəɹi, -eɪvɹi


slavery (usually uncountable, plural slaveries)

  1. An institution or social practice of owning human beings as property, especially for use as forced laborers.
    • 1866, James Buchanan, Mr. Buchanan's Administration on the Eve of the Rebellion[1], New York: D. Appleton and Company, →OCLC, →OL, page 9:
      THAT the Constitution does not confer upon Congress power to interfere with slavery in the States, has been admitted by all parties and confirmed by all judicial decisions ever since the origin of the Federal Government. This doctrine was emphatically recognized by the House of Representatives in the days of Washington, during the first session of the first Congress,* and has never since been seriously called in question. Hence, it became necessary for the abolitionists, in order to furnish a pretext for their assaults on Southern slavery, to appeal to a law higher than the Constitution.
      Slavery, according to them, was a grievous sin against God, and therefore no human Constitution could rightfully shield it from destruction. It was sinful to live in a political confederacy which tolerated slavery in any of the States composing it;[...]
    • 2014 July 31, Oliver C. Speck, editor, Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained: The Continuation of Metacinema[2], Bloomsbury, →ISBN, page 25:
      Thus Django becomes the carrier of the “public use of one's reason”—the Kantian road to enlightenment given to him by the German “Forty-Eighter” dentist–turned-bounty hunter Dr. “King” Schultz, and represents the fictive, allohistorical beginning of the battle against slavery and racism in the United States.
  2. Forced labor in general, regardless of legality.
  3. A condition of servitude endured by a slave.
    • c. 1587–1588, [Christopher Marlowe], Tamburlaine the Great. [] The First Part [], 2nd edition, part 1, London: [] [R. Robinson for] Richard Iones, [], published 1592, →OCLC; reprinted as Tamburlaine the Great (A Scolar Press Facsimile), Menston, Yorkshire, London: Scolar Press, 1973, →ISBN, Act (please specify |act=I or II), scene ii:
      If you wil willingly remaine with me,
      You ſhall haue honors, as your merits be:
      Or els you ſhal be forc’d with ſlauerie.
    • 2017, BioWare, Mass Effect: Andromeda (Science Fiction), Redwood City: Electronic Arts, →OCLC, PC, scene: The Resistance Needs Volunteers:
      Our victories on Voeld are only the beginning of what we can achieve, but we can't defeat the enemy without your help. If you're tired of living in fear, if you believe we were meant for something greater than slavery, if you're willing to stand up and fight: you'll find a new family in the Resistance.
  4. (figuratively) A condition in which one is captivated or subjugated, as by greed or drugs.
    • 1818, Percy Bysshe Shelley, The Revolt of Islam, canto 8, stanza 16:
      Man seeks for gold in mines that he may weave / A lasting chain for his own slavery.
Derived terms[edit]
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See also[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

slaver +‎ -y



slavery (comparative more slavery, superlative most slavery)

  1. Covered in slaver; slobbery.
    • 2014, Lisa Williamson, Echoes of Elder Times Collection:
      The giant snow bear, the wolf with slavery jaws or the claws of the silent great cats were all a part. Creatures of man's oldest nightmares were the other side of that face.

Further reading[edit]