serf [ surf ] SHOW IPA / sɜrf / PHONETIC RESPELLING noun 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. RELATED WORDS yoke
helotry Origin of serf 1475–85; < Middle French < Latin servus slave Related forms serf·dom, serf·hood, serf·age, noun
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
British Dictionary definitions for serfage noun (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 Derived Forms serfdom or serfhood, noun serflike, adjective Word Origin for serf
C15: from Old French, from Latin
servus a slave; see serve
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
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Word Origin and History for serfage n.
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).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Culture definitions for serfage
feudalism, a peasant bound to his lord's land and subject to his lord's will, but entitled to his lord's protection.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
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