Servitude refers to the condition of being forced or bound to perform labor or service for someone else without proper compensation or legal protection. It typically involves a loss of personal freedom and autonomy, as well as the absence of basic human rights and dignity.


US English

UK English

Part of Speech



bondage, slavery, subjugation, captivity, thralldom, serfdom, oppression, drudgery


freedom, liberty, independence, emancipation, autonomy

Word Forms

Part of Speech Words
Noun servitude, servitudes
Verb None
Adjective None
Adverb None

Example Sentences

  • During the colonial era, millions of African people were forcibly taken from their homes and transported to various parts of the world, where they endured centuries of enslavement and servitude.

  • The factory workers in the early 1900s were often subjected to harsh conditions and long hours of servitude, with little pay or protection from their bosses.

  • Women in some parts of the world still live under the shackles of gender-based servitude, where they are expected to perform all household tasks and have limited access to education and employment.

  • The history of mankind is stained with tales of innocent people being subjected to relentless servitude and labor, often at the hands of ruthless empires and tyrants.


The word ‘servitude’ is a noun that denotes the state of being in bondage or slavery, wherein someone is forced to work for another against their will. The word has a negative connotation, as it implies exploitation, lack of autonomy, and loss of freedom. It can refer to various forms of unable labor, including forced servitude, debt servitude, and indentured servitude.

The term ‘servitude’ comes from the Latin word ‘servus,’ which means slave or servant. The suffix ‘-tude’ signifies a state or condition, giving the word its meaning of a state of servitude or bondage. The prefix ‘ser-’ is also used in many related words, such as ‘serf’ (someone who is bound to work on a particular estate), ‘serfship’ (the state of being a serf), ‘serfdom’ (the social and economic system of serfdom), and ’enslave’ (to make someone a slave).

In contemporary usage, the word ‘servitude’ is often used interchangeably with the term ‘slavery,’ but it can also describe a broader range of situations where someone is in a state of forced labor, such as human trafficking, sweatshops, and prison labor. The word has been used figuratively as well, to describe situations where people feel trapped or bound to a particular way of life, such as a career or a relationship.

Overall, the word ‘servitude’ describes a state of being controlled by another, with little or no agency over one’s life. It depicts a relationship based on inequality, where one person or group holds power over another. Because of its negative connotations, the word is often used to criticize or condemn situations where people are exploited or subjected to unfair treatment.