Definition of serf in English:


Line breaks: serf
Pronunciation: /səːf


An agricultural labourer bound by the feudal system who was tied to working on his lord’s estate.
More example sentences
  • Here in the Thirty Years War, the seigneurial system collapsed and serfs refused to perform labour services.
  • One could argue that the feudal system of lords and serfs was a form of sharecropping.
  • In feudal times the serfs had to rely on the beneficence of the lord of the manor.


late 15th century (in the sense 'slave'): from Old French, from Latin servus 'slave'.



More example sentences
  • The Village Assemblies, too, have become worse than they were in the days of serfage.
  • When the Emancipation question was raised there was a considerable diversity of opinion as to the effect which the abolition of serfage would have on the material interests of the two classes directly concerned.


More example sentences
  • Throughout the long history of medieval serfdom, the serf was required to perform labor services for his lord.
  • Under serfdom, agricultural productivity was low, and only 2 or 3 per cent of the total population could be kept under arms, which meant about 700,000 at the front line.
  • Both had called for redemption of dues and abolition of serfdom and labour services; but others saw that feudalism did not end there.

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