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See also: Thrall



  • (UK) IPA(key): /θɹɔːl/
  • (US) IPA(key): /θɹɔl/, /θɹɑl/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɔːl

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English thral, thralle, threl, threlle, from Old English þrǣl (thrall, slave, servant), from Old Norse 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 related to Gothic 𐌸𐍂𐌰𐌲𐌾𐌰𐌽 (þragjan), Old English þrǣġan (to run).[1]


thrall (plural thralls)

  1. One who is enslaved or under mind control.
    • 14th century, Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales, The Physician's Tale,
      My servant, which that is my thrall by right
    • 1886-88, Richard F. Burton, The Supplemental Nights to the Thousand Nights and a Night:
      Hereat its Marid appeared and said to him, "Adsum! thy thrall between thy hands is come: ask of me whatso thou wantest."
    • 1915, Jack London, The Star Rover:
      And there were household slaves in golden collars that burned of a plenty there with her, and nine female thralls, and eight male slaves of the Angles that were of gentle birth and battle-captured.
  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 (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 []

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English thrallen, from the noun above. Compare Old Norse þræla.


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

  1. To make a thrall; enslave.

Related terms[edit]


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