Thrall - Encyclopedia




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THRALL, a slave, a captive or bondman, a term especially applied to the serfs (Lat. servi) of the early northern Teutonic peoples. It only occurs in Old English as a word borrowed from the Norse, the proper term in Old English being "theow" (peow); the Icel. J raell (Dan. trael, Swed. tral) is probably represented by O. H. Ger. dregil, trigil, trikil, a slave, and would therefore be derived from the root meaning "to run," seen in O. Eng. praegian, Goth. thagjan, cf. Gr. TpE- €LP; Skeat (Etym. Did., 1898) compares the "trochilus" (Gr. TpoxiXos), the small bird that according to Herodotus waits or attends on the crocodile and picks insects out of his teeth.

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