unpaid labor for one day, as on the repair of roads, exacted by a feudal lord.
an obligation imposed on inhabitants of a district to perform services, as repair of roads, bridges, etc., for little or no remuneration.

1300–50; Middle English < Middle French < Late Latin corrogāta contribution, collection, noun use of feminine of Latin corrogātus (past participle of corrogāre to collect by asking), equivalent to cor- cor- + rogā(re) to ask + -tus past participle suffix Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To corvee
World English Dictionary
corvée (ˈkɔːveɪ)
1.  European history a day's unpaid labour owed by a feudal vassal to his lord
2.  the practice or an instance of forced labour
[C14: from Old French, from Late Latin corrogāta contribution, from Latin corrogāre to collect, from rogāre to ask]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

mid-14c., "day's unpaid labor due to a lord by vassals under Fr. feudal system" (abolished 1776), from L.L. corrogata (opera) "requested work," from L. corrogare, from com- "with" + rogare "to ask" (see rogation).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Britannica


unpaid work on public projects that is required by law. Under the Roman Empire, certain classes of the population owed personal services to the state or to private proprietors-for example, labour in lieu of taxes for the upkeep of roads, bridges, and dikes; unpaid labour by coloni (tenant farmers) and freedmen on the estates of landed proprietors; and labour requisitioned for the maintenance of the postal systems of various regions. The feudal system of corvee-regular work that vassals owed their lord-developed from this Roman tradition. (The term corvee, meaning contribution, is now often used synonymously with statute labour.)

Learn more about corvee with a free trial on

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source
Example sentences
Poor villagers in rural regions were often required to provide corvee labor on demand as a tax imposed by authorities.
Copyright © 2014, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature