Friday, December 18, 2020

Slaves and slavery, part 3: Eng. slave ~ Sp. esclavo and Eng. Slav ~ Sp. eslavo

[This entry is taken from a chapter of Part II of the open-source textbook Spanish-English Cognates: An Unconventional Introduction to Spanish Linguistics.]

Eng. slave ~ Sp. esclavo and Eng. Slav ~ Sp. eslavo

These two pairs of cognates—Eng. slave ~ Sp. esclavo and Eng. Slav ~ Sp. eslavo—descend from the same Late Latin word sclavus that was used originally to refer to Slavic peoples or Slavs, or at least to the South Slavs (see preceding section). Variants of this name came to be used in European languages to refer to Slavic slaves and, eventually, to all slaves. The reason for this association was that there was significant traffic of Slavic slaves in some European cities that were destined primarily to the Muslim world, Venice being a major one.

The Muslim world—or Muslim-majority countries, the term preferred by some, the English equivalent of Dār al-Islām ‘land/house/country of Islam’ in Arabic—was a slave society that depended on slaves for its manual labor and even for its military forces.[i] Since Muslims and tax-paying Jews and Christians could not be enslaved in Muslim (or Christian) countries, the Muslims got their slaves from non-Christian lands, such as the land of the Slavs in central Europe, the land of the Turks in central Asia, and from eastern and central Africa. Major centers for the trafficking of Slavic slaves were Prague, Lyons, and Venice. It is presumably in this last city where the word for ‘Slav’ started to be used as the word for ‘slave’.[ii]

English got its word slave from Old French esclave. This word came to replace the many words for ‘slave’ that existed in Old English.[1] Eng. slave is first attested in the late 13th century and it was originally spelled in Middle English variously as sclave, sklaw, sklaue, etc., always with the same three-consonant cluster 〈scl〉 or 〈skl〉, pronounced [skl], as in the original Latin word, but with the loss of the Old French initial vowel 〈e〉, a sound change that was expected to happen in loans from French. Eventually, the cluster 〈scl〉 was simplified to 〈sl〉 in English, another expected, though less common, sound change, as we shall see.

Latin sclavus

Old French esclave

Middle English sclave

Modern English slave

The noun slave [ˈsleɪ̯v] entered English with the meaning it has today, namely ‘one bound in servitude as the property of a person or household’ (AHD). So, the meaning change from ‘Slav’ to ‘slave’ took place in another European language before the word came into English. The word slave in English has not changed in meaning much since then, though it has come to be used figuratively, and thus some dictionaries give it the following figurative sense: ‘a person who is excessively dependent upon or controlled by something: a slave to fashion’ (COED).

The French word esclave is first attested in this language by 1160 (LGR), earlier than in English, also with the meaning ‘slave’, not ‘Slav’. A word for ‘Slav’ in Old French was related to the word esclave, though, namely esclavon. This word comes ultimately from Medieval Latin sclavonus, a variant of sclavonius or sclavinus, referring to inhabitants of Sclavenia ‘Land of the Slavs’ (Sp. Esclavonia or Eslavonia), the Sclaveni (Sp. esclaveno), a people who, as we saw earlier, settled in the Balkan regions of the Byzantine Empire in the 6th century and had ‘been reduced to a servile condition by conquest’ (OED).[iii]

So, it we just saw that Latin had two terms for ‘Slav’, namely sclavonus and sclavus, the latter one of which came to mean ‘slave’ and was adopted with that meaning in European languages. The details are not totally clear but we do know that these two words are loanwords from Greek, where the two variants existed also to refer to the same people who had settled in the Western Roman (‘Byzantine’) Empire in the 6th century. We will return to this right after we look at the reflexes of these words in French and Spanish. We will also return to the fact that some languages have the cluster 〈scl〉 in some of these words whereas others have the cluster 〈sl〉, as in the original ethnonym (ethnic name).

The word meaning ‘slave’ is still spelled esclave in Modern French, which is both masculine and feminine, pronounced [ɛs.ˈklav] now, though originally it was written with different spellings, such as esclaf or esclas in the masculine form, of which esclave was the feminine form (OED). These words have equivalent cognates in other Romance languages, such as Provençal (masc.) esclau / (fem.) esclava, Spanish esclavo/a, Portuguese escravo/a, and (standard) Italian schiavo/a. As we have seen, all of these words come from medieval Latin sclavus/a, a word identical to and derived from the ethnic term (ethnonym) Sclavus that was used at the time for these people in Latin.

According to the DHLE, the Spanish word esclavo/a ‘slave’ is not documented until the 15th century, when it appears in a translation of the Bible, among other places. According to the same source, the word probably came into Spanish through Catalan, since the word was frequent in that language earlier, which is not surprising since Catalans were known to import Slavic and Circassian slaves. Spanish did have the word esclavón, however, before that, attested since 13th century in Spanish primarily to refer to (some) Slavic people. It was a loanword from Fr. esclavon (see above). But this word was only used for the ethnicity, not for the meaning ‘slave’ (DLE).[2] The word esclavón is all but obsolete in Modern Spanish, since it has been replaced by the word eslavo ‘Slav’, but you would not know it from looking at the Academies’ DLE, which tells us that this word is still in use, primarily as an adjective with three senses, two of which can be used as nouns as well: ‘1. adj. that is under the absolute dominion of another (applied to a person, also used as a noun); ‘2. adj. Person from Slavonia, region of [eastern] Croatia (also used as a noun)’ [presumably as a synonym of eslavón], and ‘3. adj. Belonging to or related to Slavonia or the Slavs’.[3] As we can see in sense (1), it seems that the word esclavón has also been used historically with the meaning ‘slave’ or as a synonym of the word esclavo, at least according to this dictionary. Interestingly, French dictionaries do not give the meaning ‘slave’ for the source of Sp. esclavón, namely Fr. esclavon, a 13th century loanword from Medieval Latin sclavonus ‘inhabitant of Slovenia’ (LGR). The DLE also gives esclavonio/a as a synonym of esclavón and as a word in current use in Spanish.

Medieval Lat. sclavus is first attested around the year 800. This word was originally used only to refer to a Slavic person, or perhaps just a South Slav, but by some time in that same 9th century it was being used with the sense ‘slave’. In other words, this word was thus originally synonymous with Latin sclavonus, or earlier sclavonius or sclavinus (see above). As we saw above, Latin had two names for the people, sclavonus and sclavus, the later of which is the one who came to acquire the meaning ‘slave’. Both of these words originated in and were loanwords from Greek. Byzantine (Medieval) Greek σκλάβος (sklábos) is first attested in writing in the late 6th century, and it is seemingly derived perhaps by back formation from an earlier form σκλαβηνóς (sklabēnós) or σκλαυηνóς (sklauēnós), which is ultimately a loan from Proto-Slavic *slověninъ, an ethnonym for Slavic people (the ъ is not pronounced; in Cyrillic: славянин).[4] This Greek word, which is assumed to be the source of the Latin ethnonyms sclavonus that we just saw, seems to be related to Old Church Slavonic словенинъ (sloveninŭ), cf. Old Church Slavonic словѣни (slověni) and словѣнє (slověne) for ‘Thessalonian Slav’, and Old East Slavic словѣне (slověne) for a Slavic people near Novgorod, a region in northwestern Russia near Lake Ilmen. The word Slovene today is used to refer to things related to the southern Slavic country Slovenia. The word Slovak that refers to a Slavic people in Central Europe and the name of their country, Slovakia, contain the same root.

Medieval Greek

Medieval Latin




σκλαυηνóς (sklauēnós)




s(c)lavon, s(c)lavonian

σκλάβος (sklábos)





Table 1: Terms for Slav in the Middle Ages

In Medieval Latin, Sclāvōnia was a vague geographical term to refer to the ‘Slavic lands’. It was derived from the noun sclavonus ‘Slav’ that we just saw, borrowed from Byzantine Greek. From this word comes the name Slavonia [sləˈvoʊ̯nɪə] for a historical region of Croatia bounded by the Sava, Drava, and Danube rivers, with the erroneous Greek/Latin 〈scl〉 consonant cluster ‘repaired’ and changed to 〈sl〉. The adjective related to the noun Slavonia is Slavonian. The name Slavonia that refers to a region in eastern Croatia should not be confused with Slovenia, the modern-day country west of Croatia.[5] The two names are, no doubt, derived from the same original source or from cognate roots using the same Latin/Greek suffix ‑ia used to name countries, cf. Hispania < hispanus, Francia < francus, etc. In the 20th century, both regions were part of the country of Yugoslavia, that was formed after World War I, in 1918—though the idea for such a union of southern Slavic people goes back to the 17th century—and that was dissolved in 1992, after some of its constituent republics decided to leave the union. The country of Yugoslavia united all southern Slavs west of Bulgaria.[6] The name Yugoslavia is a 20th century creation that meant something like ‘South Slavia’ or ‘South Slavic Country’, as it was formed from the words jug ‘south’ and Slavia ‘Slav Country, or else slaveni ‘Slavs’.[iv] Since the end of World War II, Yugoslavia was a federation of six republics with a Serbian majority and mixed populations, until the break-up of the country.[v]

Besides Sclavus, another term for ‘Slav’ in Medieval Latin was Sclavonius, a word related to the word sclavus and closer to the earlier Greek form σκλαυηνóς (sklauēnós) that we just saw from which it presumably arose. As we saw earlier, this word was adopted by several European languages to refer to Slavs, but not to slaves, e.g. French esclavon (13th century), Italian schiavone, Sp. esclavón. The word also entered English as Sclavon (or Sclauon) (with the 〈scl〉 cluster) or as Slavon (or Slauon) (with the 〈sl〉 cluster in the 16th century. It was borrowed from French esclavon. The OED tells us that this word is ‘Now rare or Obsolete’. By Sp. esclavón was a general word for Slavic people before esclavo and later eslavo took its place, but now that word is also obsolete for all practical purposes, though the Academies have not officially recognized that fact in their dictionary yet. The DLE tells us that esclavón is a synonym of the main meaning of esclavo, i.e. ‘slave’, as well as ‘born in Slavonia, region of Croatia’ or related to that region or its people.[7]

As we have seen, Medieval Lat. sclavus, attested by 800, first meant ‘Slav’, just like sclavonus, and only later did it come to mean additionally ‘slave’, due to the fact that so many slaves were Slavs in certain markets, such as the Venice slave market. However, a variant of this word with the simpler consonant cluster, slavus, is also attested in Medieval Latin from around the year 950, as the name of the very same people (OED), presumably because they figured out that the ‑c‑ in the word sclavus inherited from the Greek word was not found in the original (Slavic) source word. Eventually this latter variant would come to be used as the name for the people, meaning ‘Slav’, in Latin as well as in European languages influenced by Latin, whereas the older sclavus variant would continue to be used only for the meaning ‘slave’, but no longer for the meaning ‘Slav’. Descendants of Lat. slavus came to replace descendants of Lat. sclavonus in these European languages, cf. Eng. Slav, Sp. eslavo, Fr. slave.

sclavus, slavus ‘Slav’


sclavus ‘slave’

slavus ‘Slav’

As we just saw, the reason that a word for these people came to be the word for ‘slave’ in most European languages is that by the year 800, Slavs had become a major source of slaves destined primarily to the Muslim world, in part because these Slavs lacked a strong state organization at the time to prevent it. The providers of such slaves were many. A major one was the ‘German’ Holy Roman Empire, which conducted wars with the Slavs between approximately 800-1400, first to protect its eastern border from Slavic raids and then as part of a Germanic eastward expansion. Early Slavic states such as the Kingdom of Poland in the 11th century may have also sold Slavic slaves that ended up in Mediterranean slave markets. Magyars, the ancestors of modern Hungarians, as well as other states that came to be ruled by the (Turkish) Ottoman Empire also dominated their Slavic neighbors for a while and provided slaves to the Muslim world, at least until the Slavs were Christianized.

There were many slave markets in the Mediterranean in the Middle Ages. One major one was Venice, which specialized in Slavic slaves after the ban on selling of Christians to Muslims in 840 (Pactum Lotharii).[8] The use of the ethnonym for Slavs to refer to slaves is first attested in Latin documents by 9th century (OED). However, for all we know, this use may have actually arisen in spoken Venetian Romance, since Venice was a major center for the sale of these Slavic slaves. From there it could have passed on to written Medieval Latin and to other Romance languages, as well as to other non-Romance European languages, such as English and German.

Let us now attempt to explain the consonant cluster conundrum that we have mentioned several times. As we have seen, the Greek (and thus Latin) terms for this ethnic group, and thus for the term for ‘slave’, contains a 〈scl〉 consonant cluster that does not exist in the original ethnic term in Slavic languages, which has the simpler cluster 〈sl〉. The 〈scl〉 cluster existed in the Old French term when English borrowed it and it still exists in the Spanish term esclavo/a and its cognates in most of the European languages that have borrowed this term from Latin. However, Modern English and a few other Germanic languages do not have the cluster 〈scl〉 in their cognates of the word for ‘slave’, but rather only the consonant 〈sl〉, cf. Dutch slaaf; Low German, Danish and Norwegian slave (but cf. modern Standard German sklave). One might think that this reversal to the original consonant cluster is motivated by awareness of the original cluster, but that does not seem to be the case.

Again, the original Slavic word for the ethnonym had the 〈sl〉 consonant cluster, without the 〈c〉. So, how did this word acquire the 〈scl〉 consonant cluster when borrowed into Greek and Latin? The reason, it is thought, can be found in Greek phonotactics, that is, ‘the patterns in which the phonemes of a language may combine to form sequences’ (RHWUD; cf. Part I, Chapter 7). It seems that Greek phonology did now allow the consonant cluster 〈sl〉 at the beginning of a syllable (and, thus, at the beginning of a word), but it allowed the cluster 〈scl〉, and thus the latter cluster was used to substitute for the former when the word was borrowed from Slavic into Medieval Greek. The cluster was then passed on to Latin when this language borrowed the term for the people from Greek, even though Latin phonology did allow such a cluster. Spanish and French did not allow either cluster at the beginning of a word, a problem that they solved by adding an initial vowel e‑ which resulted in the breaking of the cluster into two syllables, e.g. Sp. es-cla-vo.

English phonology, on the other hand, had no problem with starting words with such clusters and did away with the prothetic e‑ in the French word esclave when it borrowed it in the 13th century. But English also lost the 〈c〉 in the 〈scl〉 cluster. How did that happen? The answer seemingly can be found in the phonotactics of English and closely related languages. In these languages, the 〈scl〉 cluster was very rare if not impossible, but not so the 〈sl〉 cluster, e.g. sleep, slope, slap, etc. The English word changed its pronunciation, and thus its spelling, from sclave to slave by the early 16th century. If this is true, then this sound change did not happen so that the word slave would sound and look more like the original, but rather because the 〈scl〉 consonant cluster was alien to or very rare in English, just like 〈sl〉 was alien to Greek, and English often ended up simplifying such clusters in loanwords. There are a few English loanwords in which this cluster reduction took place in the history of English, such as the following:

·         slate (mid-14th century) < Old French esclate ‘split piece, splinter’ (Modern French éclat) < Frankish *slaitan ‘to split, break’

·         slander (late 13th century) < Old French esclandre <escandle < Church Lat. scandalum ‘cause of offense or stumbling’ < Ancient Greek σκάνδαλον (skándalon) ‘a trap laid for an enemy, a cause of moral stumbling’ (Wkt) (Eng. scandal is a doublet cognate of slander, borrowed in the late 16th century through Middle French scandale)

·         sluice < Anglo-Norman escluse ‘sluice, floodgate’ < Late Latin exclusa ‘extrusion, gate’ (cf. Mod. Fr. écluse, Sp. esclusa) < Lat. exclūsus, part. of exclūdĕre ‘to shut out, exclude, cut off, remove, separate’ (cf. Eng. exclude, Sp. excluir)

Old French

Middle English

Modern English










Occasionally the loss of the 〈c〉 in the 〈scl〉 consonant cluster also happened word internally, as in the word muscle a late 14th century loan from Middle French muscle, from Latin musculus. In this case, however, the 〈c〉 in the word muscle is still written, though it is ‘silent’ (not pronounced) and the word is pronounced [ˈmʌsəl], just like the homophonous word mussel, which has the exact same Latin source as muscle, which makes Eng. muscle and mussle a doublet of cognates, in addition to being homophones. Note that a different type of cluster simplification has taken place in Modern French, for where Old French had 〈esC‑〉 (where C is any consonant), modern French typically has 〈eC〉, and the syllable-final 〈s〉 is always lost, cf. Fr. état ‘state’, école ‘school’, etc. The French word esclave is an exception to this cluster simplification, however.

For the name of the people, all modern languages have forms without the 〈c〉 in the consonant cluster. As we mentioned earlier, this loss is attested even in Medieval Latin by the middle of the 10th century, when we find the word for the people written as slavus, though it was sclavus in the early 9th century. We have to assume that this loss was due to the realization that there was no such consonant in the original ethnonym for Slavic people, after further contact with these people, not mediated by Greek speakers. Thus, English has Slav [ˈslɑv] or [ˈslæv], depending on the dialect, and Spanish has eslavo/a [es.ˈla.βo]. Other European languages have similar words with the simple 〈sl〉 consonant cluster too, e.g. Modern German Slawe [ˈslavə] and Modern French slave [ˈslav]. However, the 〈c〉 was not lost in the version of this word with the meaning ‘slave’, presumably because the connection between the ethnonym and the word meaning ‘slave’ was lost after a while. Thus, regular people do not associate the words Eng. slave or Sp. esclavo with Slavs today, unless they learn about the history of these words, of course.

The English noun slave is often used as the modifier for another noun in noun-noun compounds, much like an adjective, resulting in some common phrases, such as slave trade (18th century; Sp. comercio de esclavos or trata de esclavos), slave driver (Sp. negrero/a, tirano/a) and slave state (19th century; Sp. estado esclavista), the latter in reference to the southern states in which slavery was legal at the time of the Civil War. Since Spanish does not have noun-noun compounds of this type, we can see in the Spanish translations of these expressions the different ways in which Spanish turns nouns into modifiers, such as using the connection preposition de (e.g. comercio de esclavos), deriving adjectives by means of suffixes (e.g. esclavista), or by using different lexical items (words) to express the same meaning (e.g. negrero).

As for the Spanish word esclavo/a, there are some interesting details about its meaning and uses. In addition to the literal sense, this word has also acquired some figurative senses, much like its English cognate slave has, though dictionaries differ as to how they divide these figurative senses. In particular, Spanish-English dictionaries seem to agree that Sp. esclavo can be used figuratively more easily than Eng. slave can, for example with the meaning ‘addict’, as in esclavo del trabajo ‘workaholic, addicted to work’ (OSD) or esclavo de las drogas ‘addicted to drugs’ (DUEAEV). This sense is typically found in the construction ser esclavo/a de ‘to be slave to; to be in the thrall(s) of’, as in ser esclavo de la rutina ‘be (stuck) in a rut ; be stuck in a groove’ (GU). A fairly well-established expression with the word esclavo in Spanish is trabajar como un esclavo lit. ‘to work like a slave’ (synonymous with trabajar como un negro).

Interestingly, although we have been treating Sp. esclavo as a noun, just like Eng. slave, Spanish dictionaries tell us that in its main senses is primarily an adjective that is ‘used mostly as a noun’ (U. m. c. s.: ‘usado más como sustantivo’; the previous editions of the Academy’s dictionary said that it can be ‘used also a a noun’: U. t. c. s.: ‘usado también como sustantivo’), a rather unusual state of affairs. This is what the first four senses of this word are according to the DLE:

(1)  Adjective Said of a person: that lacks freedom due to being under another person’s domination. Used mostly as a noun.

(2)  Adjective Strictly or strongly subjected to a duty, passion, affection, vice, etc., which deprives of freedom. Hombre esclavo de su palabra. Used mostly as a noun.

(3)  Adjective Surrendered, obedient, in love. Used mostly as a noun.

(4)  Adjective Said of an activity: That requires a lot of work, attention and care El deporte de competición es muy esclavo.[9]

Leaving aside the question of whether this word is an adjective that is used mostly as a noun, as the DLE argues, or a noun that can be used as an adjective, we can see that senses (2-4) are figurative ones derived from the literal sense (1). Only sense (4), which is very rare, is strictly adjectival, whereas the other ones are supposedly adjectivs that are used mostly as nouns.

Those four senses of the word esclavo/a are not the only ones in the DLE, however. This dictionary mentions four additional and strictly nominal senses that have been derived from the original literal one, although they are so rare that they are not mentioned in most other dictionaries. Three of them are feminine nouns (esclava) that refer to different types of bracelets in different regions of the Spanish-speaking world.[10]

Go to Part 4

[1] The Old English Translator online ( gives a large number of words for the meaning ‘slave’ in Old English. The main such were: wále ‘welshwoman, female slave’, ceápcniht ‘a hired servant, a slave’, cypecniht ‘a bought servant, slave’, esne ‘a man of the servile class, a laborer, slave, servant etc.’, góp ‘slave, servant’, hæft ‘captive slave, servant’, hæftencel ‘a slave’, hæftincel ‘slave’, inbyrdling ‘slave born in a master’s house’, lytle/ lýtle ‘female slave’, mennen ‘handmaiden slave’, nídling ‘one who serves of necessity, a slave, bondman’, nídþeów ‘a slave thrall’, níedling ‘slave, one who serves of necessity, bondman, captive sailor’, oépeeniht ‘a bought servant, slave, venalis, puer servus’, rihtjjeów/rihtþéowa ‘lawful slave’, scielcen/scylcen ‘female servant, slave, concubine, woman of bad character’, underþéow ‘subject, slave’, wale/weale ‘a female slave servant’, weorcþéow/weorcþéow ‘servant, slave’, wiel ‘slave, servant’, wielen ‘foreign woman, female slave’, þeówetling ‘slave’, þeówincel ‘slave’, þeówling ‘slave’, þéow/þéowe ‘female servant or slave, etc.’.

[2] The DHLE says that the Spanish word eslabón ‘chain link’ descends from this word as well, but this is rather controversial. According to the DLE, Sp. eslabón perhaps comes from Gothic.

[3] The original says: ‘adj. Que está bajo el dominio absoluto de otro. Apl. a pers., u. t. c. s. 2. adj. Natural de Esclavonia, región de Croacia. U. t. c. s. 3. adj. Perteneciente o relativo a Esclavonia o a los esclavone.’ (DLE).

[4] Another theory is it derives from the Greek verb σκυλάω (skuláō), variant of σκυλεύω (skuleúō), meaning ‘to get the spoils of war’, since Slavs were often enslaved as a result of military action.

[5] What is now Croatia was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until it was dissolved after World War I in 1918. Modern-day Croatia is the result of the union of the kingdoms of Croatia, Soavonia, and Dalmatia. The king of these regions was the emperor of Austria.

[6] Bulgaria is a Slavic country, but the name Bulgaria comes from the Bulgars, a Turkic semi-nomadic warrior tribe from the Eurasian steppe who had originated in Central Asia. After uniting with other peoples and creating the state of Old Great Bulgaria north of the Black Sea in the 7th century, they migrated south to the northeastern Balkan peninsula after being conquered by the Khazars, another Turkic people/confederation, in 668 and created the First Bulgarian Empire (681-1018), the basis of the modern Bulgarian nation-state, but going much beyond it. The Bulgars were but a minority military ruling class in this empire in which the majority was Slavic.

[7] The original says: ‘1. adj. Que está bajo el dominio absoluto de otro. Apl. a pers., u. t. c. s.  2. adj. Natural de Esclavonia, región de Croacia. U. t. c. s.  3. adj. Perteneciente o relativo a Esclavonia o a los esclavones.’

[8] Approximately speaking, the South Slavs adopted Christianity in the 9th century, the East Slavs in the 10th, and the West Slavs between the 9th and 12th century. Some Slavs, such as the Bulgarians and the Russians, were introduced to Eastern Orthodoxy, which is why they use the Cyrillic script. Others, such as the Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, and Croats, were introduced to Roman Catholicism, which is why the use the Latin script. Cf.

[9] The original says: ‘1. adj. Dicho de una persona: Que carece de libertad por estar bajo el dominio de otra. U. m. c. s.  2. adj. Sometido rigurosa o fuertemente a un deber, pasión, afecto, vicio, etc., que priva de libertad. Hombre esclavo de su palabra. U. m. c. s.  3. adj. Rendido, obediente, enamorado. U. m. c. s.  4. adj. Dicho de una actividad: Que exige mucho trabajo, atención y cuidado. El deporte de competición es muy esclavo.’

[10] The original says: ‘5. m. y f. Persona alistada en alguna cofradía de esclavitud.  6. fem. Pulsera sin adornos y que no se abre [‘‘bracelet without ornaments that does not open’’].  7. fem. El Salvador y Honduras Pulsera grande que puede abrirse [‘‘large bracelet that can be opened’].  8. fem. Uruguay Pulsera rígida, circular o poligonal, que puede llevar dijes y que no tiene cierre. [‘‘rigid, circular or polygonal bracelet, which can carry charms and has no closure’] (DLE).

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Slaves and slavery, part 21: Eng. indenture

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