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Thrall

A slave; bondage; wittily derived from drill, in allusion to the custom of drilling the ear of a slave in token of servitude, a custom common to the Jews. (Deut. xv. 17.) Our Saxon forefathers used to pierce at the church-door the ears of their bond-slaves. (Anglo-Saxon, thrael, slave or bondman.)

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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