Definition of helot in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈhelət/


1A member of a class of serfs in ancient Sparta, intermediate in status between slaves and citizens.
Example sentences
  • Boeotia was agriculturally rich but had neither Athens' silver nor Sparta's helots.
  • He next persuaded Athens to send him with a large hoplite force to help Sparta against the helots, now in revolt.
  • Before the wolves can get him, however, he is rescued by a wise old shepherd and brought up as a helot, one of the aboriginal population the Spartans have enslaved.
1.1A serf or slave.
Example sentences
  • The Nazis apparently intended to reduce Slavs such as the Poles to the status of helots.
  • The ultimate aim was to make South Africa a ‘white man's country’ built on black helots.
  • In addition to being super-exploited, Dubai's helots are also expected to be generally invisible.



Pronunciation: /-ˌtij/
Example sentences
  • Compulsory labour takes a considerable variety of forms, today as in the past - debt bondage, clientship, peonage, helotage, serfdom, chattel slavery, and so on.
  • The Spartans had, in the archaic era, annexed the adjacent territory of Messenia and forced the once-independent Messenians into helotage.
  • Altogether, these papers provide a stimulating overview of the major questions, debates, and methodologies in current scholarship on helotage in one accessible volume.


Pronunciation: /-ˌtizəm/
Example sentences
  • Ancient and modern authors have found it very difficult to define helotism, because it was not considered to be an ordinary type of unfree labor.
  • The hard helotism to which the tremendous range of the sciences condemns every scholar today is a main reason why those with a fuller, richer, profounder disposition no longer find a congenial education and congenial educators.
  • He urged him to abolish the prerogatives claimed by nobles and the helotism of all who were not noble, and suggested that judges should be appointed for life and justice rendered free of expense.


Pronunciation: /ˈhelətrē/
Example sentences
  • The numbers amount to a huge under-estimate of the actual rise in state-subsidised helotry.
  • The Scottish Socialist Party, the sole ark of salvation to which 128,026 Scots look for emancipation from capitalist helotry, is in meltdown.
  • If Joe Public shrugs off each new encroachment as minor in itself, he will have only himself to blame if he ends up in state-controlled helotry.


Via Latin from Greek Heilōtes (plural), traditionally taken as referring to Helos, a Laconian town whose inhabitants were enslaved.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: hel·ot

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