- a person condemned to work at an oar on a galley.
- a drudge.
Origin of galley slave
First recorded in 1560–70
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for galley slave
It was only wanting that, after all that already I had endured, I should become a galley-slave!The Tavern Knight
Galley-slave or not, I have kept silent, and will do so further.The Son of Monte-Cristo, Volume II (of 2)
Alexandre Dumas pre
Once this galley-slave of fun tried to make his escape from the galley.
With brutal insult, they chained him to the oar as a galley-slave.
Why, the poor wretch toils at her filing like a galley-slave!The Mason-bees
J. Henri Fabre
- a criminal or slave condemned to row in a galley
- informal a drudge
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012