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.

Nearby words

  1. serengeti,
  2. serengeti national park,
  3. serenity,
  4. sereth,
  5. serevent,
  6. serfdom,
  7. serge,
  8. sergeancy,
  9. sergeant,
  10. sergeant at arms

Origin of serf

1475–85; < Middle French < Latin servus slave

Related formsserf·dom, serf·hood, serf·age, noun

Can be confusedserf surf Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for serfdom

British Dictionary definitions for serfdom



(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 Formsserfdom or serfhood, nounserflike, adjective

Word Origin for serf

C15: from Old French, from Latin servus a slave; see serve

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

Word Origin and History for serfdom
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for serfdom


Under 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 Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.