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Thrall is a word with its roots in the Old Norse language. We will examine the meaning of the word thrall, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

Thrall means being under someone else’s control, or having power over someone. The word is most often used in the phrase in the thrall of or the phrase in thrall to. Thrall is a mass noun, which is an uncountable noun that does not have a plural form. The word thrall is derived from the Old Norse word þræll, which means servant, serf or slave. The idea behind the word thrall is of being in figurative slavery or bondage to another or another’s ideas.


This sad episode highlights how Lebanon continues to be in thrall to its ‘big men’, leaders of militias and clans who have become a permanent fixture of Lebanese politics. (Gulf News)

A Democratic Congressman has said that the institution is in the “thrall” of the National Rifle Association. (The Independent)

But 24 hours later Massot righted that wrong, matching his decorated ice companion step for step, their dance to “La Terre vue du ciel” by Armand Amar holding the crowd at the Gangneung Arena in thrall. (The Hurriyet Daily News)

Although it is amusing to see the western world in thrall to an artificial intelligence – Dr Roosevelt – in the shape of a small teddy bear, the show also resorts to the kind of cliches you find in a bad Bond movie: a crucial encounter between the forces of good and evil is conducted over a chess board, and the science professors have the wild hair and scruffy appearance that always betoken the liberal intelligentsia. (The Guardian)