1. a member of the lowest class in ancient Laconia, constituting a body of serfs who were bound to the land and were owned by the state.Compare Perioeci, Spartiate.
  2. (lowercase) a serf or slave; bondman.


  1. (in ancient Greece, esp Sparta) a member of the class of unfree men above slaves owned by the state
  2. (usually not capital) a serf or slave

1570s (with a capital -h-) “Spartan serf,” from Greek Heilotes, plural of Heilos, popularly associated with Helos, Laconian town reduced to serfdom by Sparta, but perhaps related to Greek halonai “be captured.” In extended use by 1820s.

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