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 Pawn on Wikipedia




Etymology 1Edit

A pawn (chess)

Borrowed from Anglo-Norman paun, poun (pawn, pedestrian) ( = Old French poon, paon), from Late Latin pedō, pedonis (footsoldier), from Latin pēs, ped- (foot).


pawn (plural pawns)

  1. (chess) The most common chess piece, or a similar piece in a similar game. In chess each side has eight; moves are only forward, and attacks are only forward diagonally or en passant.
  2. (colloquial) Someone who is being manipulated or used to some end, usually not the end that individual would prefer.
    Though a pawn of the gods, her departure is the precipitating cause of the Trojan War.

See alsoEdit

Chess pieces in English · chess pieces, chessmen (see also: chess) (layout · text)
king queen castle, rook bishop knight pawn

Etymology 2Edit

From Middle French pan (pledge, security), apparently from a Germanic language (compare Middle Dutch pant, Old High German pfant).


pawn (plural pawns)

  1. The state of being held as security for a loan, or as a pledge.
    All our jewellery was in pawn by this stage.
    • Shakespeare
      My life I never held but as a pawn / To wage against thy enemies.
  2. An instance of pawning something.
    • Shakespeare
      Redeem from broking pawn the blemish'd crown.
    • John Donne
      As the morning dew is a pawn of the evening fatness, so, O Lord, let this day's comfort be the earnest of to-morrow's.
  3. (now rare) An item given as security on a loan, or as a pledge.
    • 1621, Democritus Junior [pseudonym; Robert Burton], The Anatomy of Melancholy, Oxford: Printed by Iohn Lichfield and Iames Short, for Henry Cripps, OCLC 216894069; The Anatomy of Melancholy: [], 2nd corrected and augmented edition, Oxford: Printed by John Lichfield and James Short, for Henry Cripps, 1624, OCLC 54573970, (please specify |partition=1, 2, or 3):
      , New York, 2001, p.106:
      Brokers, takers of pawns, biting userers, I will not admit; yet [] I will tolerate some kind of usery.
    • Francis Bacon
      As for mortgaging or pawning, [] men will not take pawns without use [i.e. interest].
  4. (rare) A pawnshop, pawnbroker.


pawn (third-person singular simple present pawns, present participle pawning, simple past and past participle pawned)

  1. To pledge; to stake or wager.
  2. To give as security on a loan of money; especially, to deposit (something) at a pawn shop.
  • (to deposit at a pawn shop): hock
See alsoEdit

Etymology 3Edit


pawn (uncountable)

  1. Alternative form of paan
    • 1892, Chambers's Journal (volume 69, page 320)
      To our English taste, pawn is very offensive; but the natives of India relish it, and regard it as a necessity. It is much eaten by Mohammedans of both sexes, and by the natives of Bengal.

Etymology 4Edit


pawn (third-person singular simple present pawns, present participle pawning, simple past and past participle pawned)

  1. (video games) Alternative form of pwn