noun (1)
\ ˈpȯn How to pronounce pawn (audio) , ˈpän \

Definition of pawn

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : one of the chessmen of least value having the power to move only forward ordinarily one square at a time, to capture only diagonally forward, and to be promoted to any piece except a king upon reaching the eighth rank
2 : one that can be used to further the purposes of another


noun (2)

Definition of pawn (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : something delivered to or deposited with another as security for a loan
b : hostage
2 : the state of being pledged
3 : something used as a pledge : guaranty
4 : the act of pawning


pawned; pawning; pawns

Definition of pawn (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

: to deposit in pledge or as security especially in exchange for money

Other Words from pawn


pawner \ ˈpȯ-​nər How to pronounce pawn (audio) , ˈpä-​ \ or less commonly pawnor \ ˈpȯ-​nər How to pronounce pawn (audio) , ˈpä-​ ; pȯ-​ˈnȯr , pä-​ \ noun

Synonyms for pawn

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of pawn in a Sentence

Verb She was forced to pawn her diamond ring. he pawned his antique watch in order to pay off his gambling debt

First Known Use of pawn

Noun (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


circa 1566, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for pawn

Noun (1)

Middle English pown, from Anglo-French peoun, paun, from Medieval Latin pedon-, pedo foot soldier, from Latin ped-, pes foot — more at foot

Noun (2)

Middle English paun, from Middle French dialect (Walloon, Flanders) pan

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Time Traveler for pawn

Time Traveler

The first known use of pawn was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near pawn

pawl rim



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Statistics for pawn

Cite this Entry

“Pawn.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for pawn


\ ˈpȯn How to pronounce pawn (audio) \

Kids Definition of pawn

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the piece of least value in the game of chess
2 : a person who has little power and is controlled by a more powerful person or group


pawned; pawning

Kids Definition of pawn (Entry 2 of 2)

: to leave as a guarantee of repayment for a loan He pawned a watch.


\ ˈpȯn How to pronounce pawn (audio) \

Legal Definition of pawn

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a pledge and transfer of possession of movable or personal property to a creditor which gives the creditor the privilege of satisfying the debt from the property (as by selling it) if the debt is not repaid within a specified time also : the property pledged shall not take as a pawn any workman's tools — compare antichresis
b : the state of being so pledged or burdened by such a pledge goods held in pawn
2 : the act of pawning


transitive verb

Legal Definition of pawn (Entry 2 of 2)

: to put (personal or movable property) in pawn when it is redeemed by the person who pawned it — compare hypothecate

Other Words from pawn

pawner \ ˈpȯ-​nər How to pronounce pawn (audio) \ or pawnor \ same or pȯ-​ˈnȯr \ noun

More from Merriam-Webster on pawn

Nglish: Translation of pawn for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pawn for Arabic Speakers


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