peas·​ant ˈpe-zᵊnt How to pronounce peasant (audio)
: a member of a European class of persons tilling the soil as small landowners or as laborers
This land was farmed by peasants for centuries.
also : a member of a similar class elsewhere
: a usually uneducated person of low social status
They treated us like a bunch of peasants.

Examples of peasant in a Sentence

They treated us like a bunch of peasants.
Recent Examples on the Web Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, a French historian at the forefront of a scholarly movement that sought to understand the past from the bottom up, by probing the beliefs and psychology of anonymous peasants and priests rather than the exploits of triumphant generals and rulers, died on Wednesday. Jonathan Kandell, New York Times, 23 Nov. 2023 My mother was a hard-shell peasant Catholic who had never read the Bible but believed fervently in rituals, icons, beads, scapulars, and above all the spiritual benefits of hardship. Lucy Sante, The New Yorker, 11 Nov. 2023 That is, of course, the plot of Eat, Pray, Love: a 2006 memoir that happened to be published at the same time as Sienna Miller was wearing coin belts and peasant skirts and rough-hewn turquoise rings. Daniel Rodgers, Vogue, 18 Oct. 2023 The characters, unnamed, are drawn from that strange eternal medieval world of fantasy: knights, wizards, a king; peasants with faces like Leonardo grotesques, wearing kerchiefs or hoods. Rivka Galchen, The New Yorker, 23 Oct. 2023 Inspired by a real historical event that took place in 1905 in Iran, the film will tell the story of a group of peasants who rescue two girls among dozens who were kidnapped by rebels. Naman Ramachandran, Variety, 6 Oct. 2023 In 1531, an Indigenous Chichimeca peasant named Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin was chosen by the Virgin Mary to deliver a message to the bishop to build a chapel in her honor. Jp Brammer, Los Angeles Times, 31 Aug. 2023 Nobles and peasants, masters and servants, meet in the gorgeous musical ensembles of the opera and forge unexpected harmonies and alliances. Larry Wolff, The New York Review of Books, 27 July 2023 The mural features a grand temple scene with a crucified indigenous peasant at the center, symbolizing the treatment of American Indians at the hands of Spanish colonizers and American imperialists. Nathan Solis, Los Angeles Times, 30 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'peasant.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English paissaunt, from Anglo-French paisant, pesaunt, from pais, paiis country, from Late Latin pagensis inhabitant of a district, from Latin pagus district; akin to Latin pangere to fix — more at pact

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of peasant was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near peasant

Cite this Entry

“Peasant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


peas·​ant ˈpez-ᵊnt How to pronounce peasant (audio)
: a European small farmer or farm laborer
: a member of a similar agricultural class elsewhere
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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