• synonyms


  1. a person who is in bondage; slave.
  2. a person who is morally or mentally enslaved by some power, influence, or the like: He was the thrall of morbid fantasies.
  3. slavery; thralldom.
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verb (used with object)
  1. Archaic. to put or hold in thralldom; enslave.
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  1. Archaic. subjected to bondage; enslaved.
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Origin of thrall

before 950; Middle English; Old English thrǣl < Old Norse thrǣll slave
Related formsun·thralled, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for thralling

Historical Examples

  • Miraculously, over-night, the shabby wall had blossomed into thralling splendor.

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    Eugene Wood

  • He was no longer unknown; he had emerged, freed himself from the thralling oblivion of the mass.

    Stover at Yale

    Owen Johnson

  • In waking and sleeping hours Madeline Hammond could not release herself from the thralling memory of that tragedy.

British Dictionary definitions for thralling


  1. Also called: thraldom, (US) thralldom (ˈθrɔːldəm) the state or condition of being in the power of another person
  2. a person who is in such a state
  3. a person totally subject to some need, desire, appetite, etc
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  1. (tr) to enslave or dominate
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Word Origin

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 thralling



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").

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper