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See also: Thrall



From Middle English thral, thralle, threl, threlle, from Old English þrǣl (thrall, slave, servant), from Old Norse þræll (slave) whence the Icelandic þræll (slave), from Proto-Germanic *þrahilaz, *þragilaz, *þrigilaz (runner, gofer, servant), from Proto-Indo-European *trāgʰ- (to pull, drag, race, run); according to ODS probably akin to Old High German drigil, servant, to the Gothic 𐌸𐍂𐌰𐌲𐌾𐌰𐌽 (þragjan) and to the Old English þrǣġan (to run) [1]



thrall (plural thralls)

  1. One who is enslaved or under mind control.
  2. (uncountable) The state of being under the control of another person.
    • 1864, Herman Melville, Mardi:
      Go: release him from the thrall of Hautia.
    • 1889, Jerome K. Jerome, Three Men in a Boat:
      [Y]our friend, John Edward, is at the other end of the room with his whole soul held in thrall by photographs of other people's relatives.
    • 1911, Saki, The Easter Egg:
      In her brain she was dimly conscious of balancing, or striving to balance, the abject shame which had him now in thrall against the one compelling act of courage which had flung him grandly and madly on to the point of danger.
    • 2017 March 27, “The Observer view on triggering article 50”, in The Observer[1]:
      A more enlightened Conservative prime minister, better attuned to the “one nation” tradition of the party of Disraeli and Macmillan, less in thrall to Little Englanders, and less intimidated by the peculiarly vicious and Manichaean worldview of the Daily Mail, would have taken a more consensual approach.
  3. A shelf; a stand for barrels, etc.

Related terms[edit]



thrall (third-person singular simple present thralls, present participle thralling, simple past and past participle thralled)

  1. To make a thrall.


thrall (comparative more thrall, superlative most thrall)

  1. (archaic) Enthralled; captive.
    • 1536, Thomas Wyatt, Satire I:
      Rather than to live thrall, under the awe
      Of lordly lokes, wrapped within my cloke ...


  1. ^ Etymology according to ODS: muligvis beslægtet med oht. drigil, tjener, og got. þragjan, oeng. þrægan, løbe