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From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishserfserf /sɜːf $ sɜːrf/ noun [countable]  PGCsomeone in the past who lived and worked on land that they did not own and who had to obey the owner of the landpeasant slave1(1)
Examples from the Corpus
serfA nation of Catholic ruins and Catholic serfs.But in the new electronic workplace, the corporate serf cannot see his master, because his corporate master is a fiction.Since land allotments would be carved out of land that belonged to the gentry, serfs would have to pay for them.They are the feudal nobility who own the land, and the landless serfs who work the land.Soon afterwards, as in the Western Middle Ages, there were masses of peasant serfs, and great feudal States.The most fundamental limitation concerned jurisdiction over private serfs.They came as term serfs for a period of five years.Plans for the reform of local government were now in step with those for the emancipation of the serfs.
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