- a person in a condition of servitude, required to render services to a lord, commonly attached to the lord's land and transferred with it from one owner to another.
- a slave.
Origin of serf
SynonymsSee more synonyms for serf on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for serf
"I give not the pip of an apple for king or for noble," cried the serf passionately.The White Company
Arthur Conan Doyle
Yes; but if he had not been discontented, he would have been a serf still!Alice, or The Mysteries, Complete
Taking the serf's head in his hands, he kissed him on both cheeks.Beauty and The Beast, and Tales From Home
But I will tell you what: my mother's grandfather was a peasant—a serf.Under Western Eyes
The main division, the widest gulf, divided the feudal lord and the serf.Socialism
- (esp in medieval Europe) an unfree person, esp one bound to the land. If his lord sold the land, the serf was passed on to the new landlord
Word Origin and History for serf
late 15c., "servant, serving-man, slave," from Old French serf "vassal, servant, slave" (12c.), from Latin servum (nominative servus) "slave" (see serve). Fallen from use in original sense by 18c. Meaning "lowest class of cultivators of the soil in continental European countries" is from 1610s. Use by modern writers with reference to medieval Europeans first recorded 1761 (contemporary Anglo-Latin records used nativus, villanus, or servus).