- 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 serfdom
Tragically, the Medievalist Subreddit also never seems to address that tricky issue of serfdom—pro or con?Five Subreddits You May Have Missed, and Probably Still Should Give a Miss
Kelly Williams Brown
April 5, 2014
Another is that the players are exploited in a system that amounts to a kind of serfdom.College Sports Programs Don’t Deserve the Bad Rap They Routinely Receive
March 17, 2012
Obamacare is pushing America down the road to serfdom, but neither its opponents nor advocates seem to have noticed.Obamacare Criminalizes Medicine
December 24, 2010
All military conquest involves the ancient practices of serfdom.Mountain Meditations
In half an hour I was her abject slave, and proud in my serfdom.The Fifth String
John Philip Sousa
All things have their climax, and France is tending swiftly to the climax of her serfdom.The Trampling of the Lilies
He was the real abolisher of serfdom in Russia, as history will yet prove.Memoirs
Charles Godfrey Leland
The man is not tied to the land, as in serfdom; nor is the land tied to the man, as in a peasantry.A Miscellany of Men
G. K. Chesterton
- (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 serfdom
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).