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[sur-vi-tood, -tyood] /ˈsɜr vɪˌtud, -ˌtyud/
slavery or bondage of any kind:
political or intellectual servitude.
compulsory service or labor as a punishment for criminals:
penal servitude.
Law. a right possessed by one person to use another's property.
Origin of servitude
late Middle English
1425-75; late Middle English < Late Latin servitūdō, equivalent to servi-, combining form of servus slave + -tūdō, -tude
1. serfdom, thralldom. See slavery.
1. liberty. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for servitude
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Like Janissaries, they derive a kind of freedom from the very condition of their servitude.

  • God help the Danes, if they have fallen into servitude among these blackguards!

    Homeward Bound James Fenimore Cooper
  • By 1619 servitude was already recognized in the law of Virginia.

  • It savoured of servitude to his mind, and who was this same Pippo who aspired to be his master?

    Gerald Fitzgerald Charles James Lever
  • For in this part of Turkey their mother-tongue is the language of their oppressors—the badge of servitude.

    The Red Rugs of Tarsus Helen Davenport Gibbons
  • Beware of these men; for their friendship is nothing less than a servitude.'

    Gerald Fitzgerald Charles James Lever
  • Our servitude to particulars betrays into a hundred foolish expectations.

    Essays, Second Series Ralph Waldo Emerson
British Dictionary definitions for servitude


the state or condition of a slave; bondage
the state or condition of being subjected to or dominated by a person or thing: servitude to drink
(law) a burden attaching to an estate for the benefit of an adjoining estate or of some definite person See also easement
short for penal servitude
Word Origin
C15: via Old French from Latin servitūdō, from servus a slave
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for servitude

early 15c., "condition of being enslaved," from Old French servitude, servitute (13c.) and directly from Late Latin servitudo "slavery," from Latin servus "a slave" (see serve (v.)) + abstract noun suffix.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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