1. slavery or involuntary servitude; serfdom.
  2. the state of being bound by or subjected to some external power or control.
  3. the state or practice of being physically restrained, as by being tied up, chained, or put in handcuffs, for sexual gratification.
  4. Early English Law. personal subjection to the control of a superior; villeinage.


  1. slavery or serfdom; servitude
  2. Also called: villeinage (in medieval Europe) the condition and status of unfree peasants who provided labour and other services for their lord in return for holdings of land
  3. a sexual practice in which one partner is physically bound

c.1300, “condition of a serf or slave,” from Anglo-Latin bondagium, from Middle English bond “a serf, tenant farmer,” from Old English bonda “householder,” from Old Norse boandi “free-born farmer,” noun use of present participle of boa “dwell, prepare, inhabit,” from PIE *bhow-, from root *bheue- “to be, exist, dwell” (see be). Meaning in English changed by influence of bond. The sexual sado-masochism sense is recorded by 1966.

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