Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A state of subjection to an owner or master.
  • n. Lack of personal freedom, as to act as one chooses.
  • n. Forced labor imposed as a punishment for crime: penal servitude in labor camps.
  • n. Law A right that grants use of another's property.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The state of being a slave; slavery.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The state of voluntary or compulsory subjection to a master; the condition of being bound to service; the condition of a slave; slavery; bondage; hence, a state of slavish dependence.
  • n. Servants, collectively.
  • n. A right whereby one thing is subject to another thing or person for use or convenience, contrary to the common right.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The condition of a slave or servant; the state of subjection to a master; slavery; bondage.
  • n. Menial service or condition.
  • n. Compulsory service or labor, such as a criminal has to undergo as a punishment: as, penal servitude. See penal.
  • n. Service rendered in duty performed in the army or navy. Compare service, 6.
  • n. A state of spiritual, moral, or mental bondage or subjection; compulsion; subordination.
  • n. Servants collectively.
  • n. In law, the burden of an easement; the condition of a tenement which is subject to some right of enjoyment by another than the owner of the tenement, in virtue of his ownership of another tenement. (See easement.)
  • n. Synonyms Serfdom, thraldom, vassalage, peonage.
  • n. 1 and Servitude, Slavery, Bondage. These words express involuntary subjection, and are in the order of strength. Servitude is the general word, its application to voluntary service being obsolete. Slavery emphasizes the completeness and the degradation of the state. Bondage, literally the state of being bound, is used chiefly in elevated style or figurative senses: as, bondage to appetite; Egyptian bondage. Servitude is the only one of these words that applies to compulsory and unpaid service required as a legal penalty; the phrase penal servitude is very common. See serf and captivity.
  • n. In civil and Scots law, the subjection of a person or thing to another person or thing. The word is generally used as meaning an easement or real servitude.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. state of subjection to an owner or master or forced labor imposed as punishment

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French, from Late Latin servitūdō, from Latin servus, slave.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

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