Meaning of helot in English:


Pronunciation /ˈhɛlət/


  • 1A member of a class of serfs in ancient Sparta, intermediate in status between slaves and citizens.

    ‘Boeotia was agriculturally rich but had neither Athens' silver nor Sparta's helots.’
    • ‘He next persuaded Athens to send him with a large hoplite force to help Sparta against the helots, now in revolt.’
    • ‘Before the wolves can get him, however, he is rescued by a wise old shepherd and brought up as a helot, one of the aboriginal population the Spartans have enslaved.’
    • ‘The Spartans, he said, would never dare attack Attica with an Athenian army in their homeland, and an invasion would likely spur a revolt of the helots.’
    • ‘Plato, for example, remarked that the helot system was the most controversial example of servitude in Greece.’
    1. 1.1A serf or slave.
      ‘The Nazis apparently intended to reduce Slavs such as the Poles to the status of helots.’
      • ‘The ultimate aim was to make South Africa a ‘white man's country’ built on black helots.’
      • ‘In addition to being super-exploited, Dubai's helots are also expected to be generally invisible.’
      • ‘The new, networked society of global helots is here and now.’
      • ‘My view is that we really need a new Home Secretary who is wedded to the values our democracy is supposed to represent, not someone who seems to have it as his mission to turn us into a nation of helots.’


Via Latin from Greek Heilōtes (plural), traditionally taken as referring to Helos, a Laconian town whose inhabitants were enslaved.