Definition for SER'VANT

SER'VANT, n. [Fr. from L. servans, from servo, to keep or hold; properly one that waits, that is, stops, holds, attends, or one that is bound.]

  1. A person, male or female, that attends another for the purpose of performing menial offices for him, or who is employed by another for such offices or for other labor, and is subject to his command. The word is correlative to master. Servant differs from slave, as the servant's subjection to master is voluntary, the slave's is not. Every slave servant, but every servant is not a slave. Servants are of various kinds; as, household or domestic servants, menial servants; laborers, who are hired by the day, week or other term, and do not reside with their employers, or if they board in the same house, are employed abroad and not in domestic services; apprentices, who are bound for a term of years to serve a master, for the purpose of learning his trade or occupation. In a legal sense, stewards, factors, bailifs and other agents, are servants for the time they are employed in such character, as they act in subordination to others.
  2. One in a state of subjection.
  3. In Scripture, a slave; a bondman; one purchased for money, and who was compelled to serve till the year of jubilee; also, one purchased for a term of years. – Exod. xxi.
  4. The subject of a king; as, the servants of David or of Saul. The Syrians because servants to David. – 2 Sam. viii.
  5. A person who voluntarily serves another or acts as his minister; as, Joshua was the servant of Moses, and the apostles the servants of Christ. So Christ himself is called a servant, Isa. xlii. Moses is called the servant of the Lord, Deut. xxxiv.
  6. A person employed or used as an instrument in accomplishing God's purposes of mercy or wrath. So Nebuchadnezzar is called the servant of God. – Jer. xxv.
  7. One who yields obedience to another. The saints are called the servants of God, or of righteousness; and the wicked are called the servants of sin. – Rom. vi.
  8. That which yields obedience, or acts in subordination as an instrument. – Ps. cxix.
  9. One that makes painful sacrifices in compliance with the weakness or wants of others. – 1 Cor. ix.
  10. A person of base condition or ignoble spirit. – Eccles. x.
  11. A word of civility. I am, sir, your humble or obedient servant. Our betters tell us they are our humble servants, but understand us to be their slaves. – Swift. Servant of servants, one debased to the lowest condition of servitude. – Gen. ix.

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