pe·​on | \ ˈpē-ˌän How to pronounce peon (audio) , -ən also pā-ˈōn for sense 2, British also ˈpyün for sense 1 How to pronounce peon (audio) \
plural peons or peones\ pā-​ˈō-​nēz How to pronounce peon (audio) \

Definition of peon

1 : any of various workers in India, Sri Lanka, or Malaysia: such as
b : orderly
2 [Spanish peón, from Latin pedon-, pedo] : a member of the landless laboring class in Spanish America
3 plural peons
a : a person held in compulsory servitude to a master for the working out of an indebtedness
b : drudge, menial

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Examples of peon in a Sentence

“Those rich politicians don't care about peons like us,” she complained. the company had plenty of low-paying positions for people who were content to be peons all their lives
Recent Examples on the Web But the truth is that Taiwan, one of Asia’s most vibrant and boisterous democracies, is a terrible example to cite as a cultural other populated by submissive peons. Andrew Leonard, Wired, "Taiwan Is Beating the Coronavirus. Can the US Do the Same?," 18 Mar. 2020 Battling the game's wimpy peons could've been more fun if Respawn had been more generous with Force powers or the meter's recharge. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Jedi: Fallen Order game review: More like, the Force goes back to sleep," 14 Nov. 2019 Combat has Souls, not soul Then there's combat, which only comes in two flavors: wimpy peons, or Dark Souls-caliber death traps. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Jedi: Fallen Order game review: More like, the Force goes back to sleep," 14 Nov. 2019 Why did Respawn implement this when roughly 80% of J:FO's combat is through annoying waves of simple peons? Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Jedi: Fallen Order game review: More like, the Force goes back to sleep," 14 Nov. 2019 The event will celebrate the traditions of Pala with demonstrations, including bird songs, shinny games, peon and bow and arrow making. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Assistance League chapter installs officers," 26 Aug. 2019 Why not a single-player (or co-op) crush-the-peons frenzy mode? Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Onrush game review: Sexy arcade racing in serious need of a tune-up," 5 June 2018 Rod Steiger and James Coburn team as a pair of revolutionaries with Steiger unfortunately cast as a Mexican peon and Coburn as a visiting Irish bomb-thrower. J. Hoberman, New York Times, "Sam Fuller and Fritz Lang: Audacious Auteurs of Noir," 27 Apr. 2018 In de Reygades’ world, peons and aristocrats chat around living room sets while doctors fill their medicine bags with helpings of borrowed bread and wine., "Banned in 1700s, 'Astucias' is still a relatable comedy about class and money," 12 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'peon.' 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 peon

1609, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for peon

Portuguese peão & French pion, from Medieval Latin pedon-, pedo foot soldier — more at pawn

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Statistics for peon

Cite this Entry

“Peon.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Mar. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of peon

US : a person who does hard or boring work for very little money : a person who is not very important in a society or organization
: a poor farm worker especially in Latin America


pe·​on | \ ˈpē-ˌän How to pronounce peon (audio) \

Kids Definition of peon

: a person who does hard or dull work for very little money

More from Merriam-Webster on peon

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for peon

Nglish: Translation of peon for Spanish Speakers

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