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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

In its most basic sense, the word bondage refers to the state or condition of being bound to an unfree labor system, as in slavery, indentured servitude, or serfdom. More generally, "bondage" may refer to any state of subjection to a force, influence, or power. In recent times, it has also become a generally recognised moniker for certain sexual practices.


The word bondage is derived from the Middle English bonde ("serf"), which came from the Old English (Anglo-Saxon) word bōnda ("husbandman"), which itself comes from the Old Norse bōndi, the past participle of būa ("to live").

Various usages

Specific meanings of "bondage" and words with the "bond-" prefix include:

  • Debt bondage, a modern form of slavery in which people are bound by debt, rather than legal ownership.
  • Bondage (BDSM) in BDSM is the practice of tying people up for sexual pleasure.
  • Self bondage in BDSM is the practice of tying oneself up just for fun or for sexual pleasure.
  • The term bondage is also used figuratively in religion, to mean spiritual attachment, such as to the physical world, or an evil compelling force, such as original sin.
  • A bondmaid is a woman servant.
  • A bondman, or bondsman, is a man servant.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Bondage" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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