peonage

noun
pe·​on·​age | \ ˈpē-ə-nij How to pronounce peonage (audio) \

Definition of peonage

1a : the use of laborers bound in servitude because of debt
b : a system of convict labor by which convicts are leased to contractors
2 : the condition of a peon

Examples of peonage in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The Facebook post references peonage not ending until after World War II began, around 1940. Ashley Mott, USA TODAY, "Fact check: Southern states used convict leasing to force Black people into unpaid labor," 8 July 2020 Her empathetic portraits of African-American field hands shine a light on a system of peonage that predated and outlasted the 1930s. New York Times, "18 Art Exhibitions (and 1 Architectural Wonder) in N.Y.C. Right Now," 12 Mar. 2020 Her empathetic portraits of African-American field hands shine a light on a system of peonage that predated and outlasted the 1930s. New York Times, "18 Art Exhibitions (and 1 Architectural Wonder) in N.Y.C. Right Now," 12 Mar. 2020 Her empathetic portraits of African-American field hands shine a light on a system of peonage that predated and outlasted the 1930s. New York Times, "18 Art Exhibitions (and 1 Architectural Wonder) in N.Y.C. Right Now," 12 Mar. 2020 Her empathetic portraits of African-American field hands shine a light on a system of peonage that predated and outlasted the 1930s. New York Times, "18 Art Exhibitions (and 1 Architectural Wonder) in N.Y.C. Right Now," 12 Mar. 2020 Her empathetic portraits of African-American field hands shine a light on a system of peonage that predated and outlasted the 1930s. New York Times, "18 Art Exhibitions (and 1 Architectural Wonder) in N.Y.C. Right Now," 12 Mar. 2020 Her empathetic portraits of African-American field hands shine a light on a system of peonage that predated and outlasted the 1930s. New York Times, "18 Art Exhibitions (and 1 Architectural Wonder) in N.Y.C. Right Now," 12 Mar. 2020 Her empathetic portraits of African-American field hands shine a light on a system of peonage that predated and outlasted the 1930s. New York Times, "18 Art Exhibitions (and 1 Architectural Wonder) in N.Y.C. Right Now," 12 Mar. 2020

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

1844, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Time Traveler for peonage

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The first known use of peonage was in 1844

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Statistics for peonage

Last Updated

13 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Peonage.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/peonage. Accessed 15 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for peonage

peonage

noun
pe·​on·​age | \ ˈpē-ə-nij How to pronounce peonage (audio) \

Legal Definition of peonage

: labor in a condition of servitude to extinguish a debt the holding of any person to service or labor under the system known as peonage is abolished and forever prohibitedU.S. Code

More from Merriam-Webster on peonage

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for peonage

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about peonage

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