a person who is in bondage; slave.
a person who is morally or mentally enslaved by some power, influence, or the like: He was the thrall of morbid fantasies.
slavery; thralldom.

verb (used with object)

Archaic. to put or hold in thralldom; enslave.


Archaic. subjected to bondage; enslaved.

Origin of thrall

before 950; Middle English; Old English thrǣl < Old Norse thrǣll slave
Related formsun·thralled, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for thrall

servitude, slavery

Examples from the Web for thrall

Contemporary Examples of thrall

Historical Examples of thrall

  • What man would be so caitiff and thrall as to fail you at your need?

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • She was in the thrall of fear, but, had she been questioned, would not have allowed that she was afraid.

    A Spirit in Prison

    Robert Hichens

  • I was but thirteen and of a spirit that had been cowed by her, and was held under her thrall.

    The Strolling Saint

    Raphael Sabatini

  • But Audrey herself was too completely the thrall of the illusion to feel compunction.

    Audrey Craven

    May Sinclair

  • The joy of it all held her in its thrall, and, for the moment at least, there was nothing else in the world.

    The Golden Woman

    Ridgwell Cullum

British Dictionary definitions for thrall



Also called: thraldom, (US) thralldom (ˈθrɔːldəm) the state or condition of being in the power of another person
a person who is in such a state
a person totally subject to some need, desire, appetite, etc


(tr) to enslave or dominate

Word Origin for thrall

Old English thrǣl slave, from Old Norse thrǣll
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 thrall

Old English þræl "bondman, serf, slave," from Old Norse þræll "slave, servant," probably from Proto-Germanic *thrakhilaz, literally "runner," from root *threh- "to run" (cf. Old High German dregil "servant," properly "runner;" Old English þrægan, Gothic þragjan "to run").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper