a person in a condition of servitude, required to render services to a lord, commonly attached to the lord's land and transferred with it from one owner to another.
a slave.

1475–85; < Middle French < Latin servus slave

serfdom, serfhood, serfage, noun

serf, surf.

1. vassal, villein, peasant. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
serf (sɜːf)
(esp in medieval Europe) an unfree person, esp one bound to the land. If his lord sold the land, the serf was passed on to the new landlord
[C15: from Old French, from Latin servus a slave; see serve]

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

late 15c., "slave," from M.Fr. serf, from L. servum (nom. servus) "slave" (see serve). Fallen from use in original sense by 18c. Meaning "lowest class of cultivators of the soil in continental European countries" is from 1610s. Use by modern writers with reference to medieval
Europeans first recorded 1761 (contemporary Anglo-L. records used nativus, villanus or servus). Serfdom first attested 1850.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

serf definition

Under feudalism, a peasant bound to his lord's land and subject to his lord's will, but entitled to his lord's protection.

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
Instead of running his country estate himself, he turns it over to his serfs to manage.
Politics will be much different when all the serfs realize they are the serfs.
Especially when they want to turn the rest of their neighbors into their
  personal serfs.
But, concession hunters themselves are also poor and unhappy serfs who live
  horrible lives in fear of their individual doomsdays.
Related Words
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