peas·​ant | \ ˈpe-zᵊnt How to pronounce peasant (audio) \

Definition of peasant

1 : 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
2 : 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 The People’s Republic of China is a socialist state under the people’s democratic dictatorship led by the working class and based on the alliance of workers and peasants. New York Times, "China’s ‘OK Boomer’: Generations Clash Over the Nation’s Future," 14 May 2020 Since the 1980s, when China’s economic reforms unshackled peasants from their land and sent them streaming into cities in search of work, nearly 300 million migrant workers have occupied a legal gray area. Washington Post, "They built a Chinese boomtown. It left them dying of lung disease with nowhere to turn.," 15 Dec. 2019 Texts written by — pace Bart Ehrman — first-century Jewish peasants do not exactly tickle the modern’s hyper-rational fancies. John Hirschauer, National Review, "The Impossible Idea," 25 Dec. 2019 The evening’s other debut was the work of mezzo-soprano and first year Ryan Opera Center member Kathleen Felty as the peasant girl Laura. Howard Reich,, "Lyric Opera review: Music director designate Enrique Mazzola presents a high-stakes ‘Luisa Miller’," 13 Oct. 2019 Back in 1946, in the wake of a cataclysm, the new regime instituted gender equality and mandatory and free education, so a peasant Bosnian girl, born in a house with a dirt floor, could go to school. Aleksandar Hemon, The New Yorker, "My Mother and the Failed Experiment of Yugoslavia," 5 June 2019 One depicts Death as a raging peasant attacking a wealthy count who runs for his life, flinging useless armor and weapons to the ground. Steven Litt, cleveland, "Cleveland Museum of Art collection shows how humanity coped with pandemics from Black Death to AIDS," 26 Apr. 2020 Little is known about his childhood, though Iranian accounts suggest Soleimani’s father was a peasant who received some land under the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the monarch who was toppled in the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Washington Post, "Iran’s popular Gen. Soleimani became an icon by targeting US," 3 Jan. 2020 His mother, who ran the store, raised two kids in America but was, in her heart, a peasant from the shtetl. Charles Mcgrath, New York Times, "‘The Plot Against America’ Imagines the Rise of an Intolerant Demagogue," 5 Mar. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'peasant.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of peasant

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for peasant

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

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Time Traveler for peasant

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

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Last Updated

30 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Peasant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Jun. 2020.

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How to pronounce peasant (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of peasant

: a poor farmer or farm worker who has low social status
disapproving : a person who is not educated and has low social status


peas·​ant | \ ˈpe-zᵊnt How to pronounce peasant (audio) \

Kids Definition of peasant

: a farmer or farm worker of low social class

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