- a person who is the property of and wholly subject to another; a bond servant.
- a person entirely under the domination of some influence or person: a slave to a drug.
- a drudge: a housekeeping slave.
- a slave ant.
- Photography. a subsidiary flash lamp actuated through its photoelectric cell when the principal flash lamp is discharged.
- Machinery. a mechanism under control of and repeating the actions of a similar mechanism.Compare master(def 19).
- to work like a slave; drudge.
- to engage in the slave trade; procure, transport, or sell slaves.
- to connect (a machine) to a master as its slave.
- Archaic. to enslave.
Origin of slave
SynonymsSee more synonyms for slave on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for slaving
Instead of slaving over the sauce just before dinner, you can chat with your guests, or concentrate on the entree.The 2012 Holiday Kitchen Gift Guide
December 13, 2012
We listened to you, and now we're slaving away, often at jobs we can't stand and with people we loathe.The Young Get Rude
February 3, 2012
Women have been slaving away in the kitchen for eons, maybe a little bit longer.Sex and the Kitchen
June 25, 2009
When not slaving over casseroles in her tiny Brooklyn kitchen, she edits Nerve's culture blog, Scanner.The Ultimate Recession Food
December 8, 2008
Look at Karl Osterman yonder, slaving away at that book of his!
I've been slaving and slaving for twenty years, and what have I got by it?The Cash Boy
Horatio Alger Jr.
Is that why they're all over there, slaving away so feverishly?A Transmutation of Muddles
Horace Brown Fyfe
But I could live on it, and in any case it was better than slaving at tutoring.The Dew of Their Youth
S. R. Crockett
They are slaving at work, but making no progress toward relief.Usury
- a person legally owned by another and having no freedom of action or right to property
- a person who is forced to work for another against his will
- a person under the domination of another person or some habit or influencea slave to television
- a person who works in harsh conditions for low pay
- a device that is controlled by or that duplicates the action of another similar device (the master device)
- (as modifier)slave cylinder
- (intr often foll by away) to work like a slave
- (tr) an archaic word for enslave
Word Origin and History for slaving
late 13c., "person who is the chattel or property of another," from Old French esclave (13c.), from Medieval Latin Sclavus "slave" (source also of Italian schiavo, French esclave, Spanish esclavo), originally "Slav" (see Slav); so used in this secondary sense because of the many Slavs sold into slavery by conquering peoples.
This sense development arose in the consequence of the wars waged by Otto the Great and his successors against the Slavs, a great number of whom they took captive and sold into slavery. [Klein]
Meaning "one who has lost the power of resistance to some habit or vice" is from 1550s. Applied to devices from 1904, especially those which are controlled by others (cf. slave jib in sailing, similarly of locomotives, flash bulbs, amplifiers). Slave-driver is attested from 1807; extended sense of "cruel or exacting task-master" is by 1854. Slate state in U.S. history is from 1812. Slave-trade is attested from 1734.
Old English Wealh "Briton" also began to be used in the sense of "serf, slave" c.850; and Sanskrit dasa-, which can mean "slave," apparently is connected to dasyu- "pre-Aryan inhabitant of India." More common Old English words for slave were þeow (related to þeowian "to serve") and þræl (see thrall). The Slavic words for "slave" (Russian rab, Serbo-Croatian rob, Old Church Slavonic rabu) are from Old Slavic *orbu, from the PIE root *orbh- (also source of orphan), the ground sense of which seems to be "thing that changes allegiance" (in the case of the slave, from himself to his master). The Slavic word is also the source of robot.
Indian tribe of northwestern Canada, 1789, from slave (n.), translating Cree (Algonquian) awahkan "captive, slave."
1550s, "to enslave," from slave (n.). The meaning "work like a slave" is first recorded 1719. Related: Slaved; slaving.