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indentured servant

noun, American History
a person who came to America and was placed under contract to work for another over a period of time, usually seven years, especially during the 17th to 19th centuries. Generally, indentured servants included redemptioners, victims of religious or political persecution, persons kidnapped for the purpose, convicts, and paupers.
1665-75 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for indentured servants
  • They are currently indentured servants prohibited from holding other employment.
  • As a previous poster pointed out, this essentially makes farmers indentured servants of agribusiness.
  • At first, white indentured servants provided the labor during their tenure of seven years.
  • Family farming is based on available human labor such as indentured servants and family members.
  • Some were indentured servants from the beginning and upon completing their indenture were freed.
  • indentured servants were w hen used to supply this rigorous fieldwork, but many of them reneged on their indentures.
  • indentured servants were then used to supply this rigorous fieldwork, but many of them reneged on their indentures.
  • When both parents die on the trip, the children must escape the usual orphans' fate of becoming indentured servants.
Contemporary definitions for indentured servants

a person who is bonded or contracted to work for another for a specified time, in exchange for learning a trade or for travel expenses (as to America)'s 21st Century Lexicon
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indentured servants in Culture

indentured servant definition

A person under contract to work for another person for a definite period of time, usually without pay but in exchange for free passage to a new country. During the seventeenth century most of the white laborers in Maryland and Virginia came from England as indentured servants.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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