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.

Origin:
1665–75

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Cultural Dictionary

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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Example sentences
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.
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