pawn

1
[ pawn ]
/ pɔn /

WATCH NOW: Was The Word "Pawn" Always An Insult?

WATCH NOW: Was The Word "Pawn" Always An Insult?

When you call another person a "pawn," is it an insult ... or a compliment?

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verb (used with object)

to deposit as security, as for money borrowed, especially with a pawnbroker: He raised the money by pawning his watch.
to pledge; stake; risk: to pawn one's life.

noun

the state of being deposited or held as security, especially with or by a pawnbroker: jewels in pawn.
something given or deposited as security, as for money borrowed.
a person serving as security; hostage.
the act of pawning.

Origin of pawn

1
1490–1500; (noun) < Middle French pan; Old French pan(d), pant, apparently < West Germanic; compare Old Frisian pand, Old Saxon, Middle Dutch pant, German Pfand; (v.) derivative of the noun
Related formspawn·a·ble, adjectivepawn·er [paw-ner] /ˈpɔ nər/, paw·nor [paw-ner, -nawr] /ˈpɔ nər, -nɔr/, nounun·pawned, adjective

Definition for pawn (2 of 2)

pawn

2
[ pawn ]
/ pɔn /

noun

Chess. one of eight men of one color and of the lowest value, usually moved one square at a time vertically and capturing diagonally.
someone who is used or manipulated to further another person's purposes.

Origin of pawn

2
1325–75; Middle English poun < Anglo-French, equivalent to Middle French poon, variant of paon, earlier pe(h)on literally, walker; see peon1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pawn

British Dictionary definitions for pawn (1 of 2)

pawn

1
/ (pɔːn) /

verb (tr)

to deposit (an article) as security for the repayment of a loan, esp from a pawnbroker
to staketo pawn one's honour

noun

an article deposited as security
the condition of being so deposited (esp in the phrase in pawn)
a person or thing that is held as a security, esp a hostage
the act of pawning
Derived Formspawnage, noun

Word Origin for pawn

C15: from Old French pan security, from Latin pannus cloth, apparently because clothing was often left as a surety; compare Middle Flemish paen pawn, German Pfand pledge

British Dictionary definitions for pawn (2 of 2)

pawn

2
/ (pɔːn) /

noun

a chessman of the lowest theoretical value, limited to forward moves of one square at a time with the option of two squares on its initial move: it captures with a diagonal move onlyAbbreviation: P Compare piece (def. 12)
a person, group, etc, manipulated by another

Word Origin for pawn

C14: from Anglo-Norman poun, from Old French pehon, from Medieval Latin pedō infantryman, from Latin pēs foot
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