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peasant

[pez-uh nt]
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noun
  1. a member of a class of persons, as in Europe, Asia, and Latin America, who are small farmers or farm laborers of low social rank.
  2. a coarse, unsophisticated, boorish, uneducated person of little financial means.
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adjective
  1. of, relating to, or characteristic of peasants or their traditions, way of life, crafts, etc.
  2. of or designating a style of clothing modeled on the folk costumes of Western cultures, especially women's full-sleeved, round-necked blouses and long, full skirts.
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Origin of peasant

1375–1425; late Middle English paissaunt < Anglo-French paisant, Old French païsant, earlier païsenc, equivalent to païs country (< Late Latin pāgēnsis, equivalent to Latin pāg(us) country district + -ēnsis -ensis) + -enc < Germanic (see -ing3)
Related formspeas·ant·like, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for peasants

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • The principal patrons of this modest watering-place are the peasants.

    In the Heart of Vosges

    Matilda Betham-Edwards

  • Ere they reached the copse, the peasants had disappeared within it.

    Leila, Complete

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

  • It was hard by the fountain, and the peasants suspended their operations to look at him.

    A Tale of Two Cities

    Charles Dickens

  • Midas knew him as soon as the peasants had brought him to the king's palace.

    Classic Myths

    Mary Catherine Judd

  • Above all, mark the air with which he looks down upon the peasants beside him.

    Micah Clarke

    Arthur Conan Doyle


British Dictionary definitions for peasants

peasant

noun
    1. a member of a class of low social status that depends on either cottage industry or agricultural labour as a means of subsistence
    2. (as modifier)peasant dress
  1. informal a person who lives in the country; rustic
  2. informal an uncouth or uncultured person
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Word Origin

C15: from Anglo-French, from Old French païsant, from païs country, from Latin pāgus rural area; see pagan
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for peasants

peasant

n.

early 15c., from Anglo-French paisant (mid-14c.), Old French paisent "local inhabitant" (12c., Modern French paysan), earlier paisenc, from pais "country, region" + Frankish suffix -enc "-ing."

Pais is from Late Latin pagensis "(inhabitant) of the district," from Latin pagus "country or rural district" (see pagan). As a style of garment in fashion (e.g. peasant blouse) from 1953.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

peasants in Culture

peasant

A farmer or agricultural worker of low status. The word is applied chiefly to agricultural workers in Asia, Europe, and South America, who generally adhere to traditional agricultural practices and have little social mobility or freedom.

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.