We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out moreJump to Main NavigationJump to Content
  • Text size: A
  • A

enthralment | enthrallment, n.

Forms:  see enthral v.   and -ment suffix.(Show Less)
Frequency (in current use): 
Origin: Formed within English, by derivation. Etymons: enthral v., -ment suffix.

 a. The state or condition of being mentally, morally, or emotionally subjugated, controlled, or captivated; the action or fact of subjugating, controlling, or capturing a person, the mind, will, attention, etc.; captivation; fascination. Also: an instance of this.

1579   T. Pritchard Schoole Honest & Vertuous Lyfe iv. 28   Honesty towards God..consisteth in..humble inthralment to his mercy, crauinge at his handes, to washe and mundifie..our soule.
1645   Milton Tetrachordon 32   Ther can bee neither peace, nor joy, nor love, but an enthrallment.
1693   T. Beverley Evangelical Repentance unto Salvation 85   Heavy Burdens to the entanglement, and enthralment of Conscience.
1775   London Mag. Aug. 406/2   He has only to emancipate himself from the enthralment of an evil custom.
a1807   Wordsworth Prelude (1959) iv. 110   My late course of even days And all their smooth enthralment.
1828   I. D'Israeli Comm. Life Charles I I. iv. 77   This tenderness in all probability was but the temporary enthralment of the eyes.
1876   G. Bancroft Hist. U.S. (rev. ed.) VI. Index 545/2   [Religious freedom] rises from inthralments of the hand of violence.
1909   E. B. d'Auvergne L. Montez xix. 201   From this first interview dated the enthralment of the King.
1978   Southern Calif. Q. 60 146   Another reason was their total enthralment with the region and its flora.
2011   Sun Herald (Sydney) (Nexis) 2 Oct. (Extra section) 4   Veitch vividly remembers sitting in the silent enthralment of the storyteller.

1579—2011(Hide quotations)


 b. In plural: things which mentally, morally, or emotionally enslave or control a person; things which captivate or fascinate.

1635   J. Hawkins tr. P. Aretino Paraphr. Seaven Psalmes 129   A soule..voide and free from the enthralments, the miserable subiection & slauerie of sense.
1715   tr. Thomas à Kempis Christian's Exercise i. 25   The retired empty Soul shall be enfranchised, and escape the World's Enthralments.
1787   Hist. Charles Falkland I. vii. 28   Is not Louisa held in the same soft enthralments? Does she not embrace those charms which hold her in pleasing bondage?
1818   Keats Endymion i. 40   There are..enthralments far More self-destroying.
1874   H. W. Beecher Serm. 9th Ser. iii. 54   If they must needs have help to break away from the snares and enthrallments that beset them, give forth, we pray thee, thy strength for them.
1917   D. G. James Scepticism & Poetry vi. 181   Higher than the delicious life of the senses..enthralments far more self-destroying—love and friendship.
1977   Salmagundi Winter 130   Our ideologies, our false ontologies, our enthrallments,..our compelling but unsatisfactory fixations.
2006   U.S. News & World Rep. 13 Mar. 48/3   Book publishers had become keenly aware of growing competition from the expanding universe of Internet, computer, and video-based leisure enthrallments.

1635—2006(Hide quotations)


 2. The action or an act of enslaving or subjugating someone; enslavement; subjugation. Also: the state or condition of being enslaved or subjugated; slavery; subjection.

1595   H. Chettle Piers Plainnes Prentiship sig. H4v   Gladly would I remooue him, therefore his inthralment I consent vnto.
1619   E. M. Bolton tr. Florus Rom. Hist. iv. i. 384   Cataline..was thrust into a treason for inthralment of his natiue countrey.
1667   Milton Paradise Lost xii. 171   Two brethren..sent from God to claime His people from enthralment.
1749   J. Taylor Ordinary of Newgate's Acct. 20 Feb. 10   No view of my getting clear of my then present Enthralment.
1794   G. Wakefield Remarks Gen. Orders Duke of York 33   To weep over the enthralment of our species.
1832   Bury & Norwich Post 25 Apr.   The slaves at least are no consenting parties to their own enthralment.
1869   Baptist Mag. June 361/2   Even years of enthralment could not quench man's inborn desire for liberty.
1912   J. H. Stone England's Riviera xxxii. 318   He spends seven years in enthralment.
1961   Times of India 26 Oct. 8/8   The annexation, expansion or enthralment of one Arab country by another dictatorship.
2015   B.Tjällén in S. Boardman & S. Foran Barbour's Bruce & Cultural Contexts vii. 157   The wilful despotism of Edward and the enthralment of the Scots.

1595—2015(Hide quotations)


This entry has been updated (OED Third Edition, September 2018).

In other dictionaries: