Main definitions of pawn in English

: pawn1pawn2

pawn1

noun

  • 1A chess piece of the smallest size and value. A pawn moves one square forward along its file if unobstructed (or two on the first move), or one square diagonally forward when making a capture. Each player begins with eight pawns on the second rank, and can promote a pawn to become any other piece (typically a queen) if it reaches the opponent's end of the board.

    • ‘Finally when a player promotes a pawn, they swap it for one of the pieces that their partner's opponent is waiting to place on their board.’
    • ‘Floyd replied by moving his murderous pawn one space forward.’
    • ‘In one smooth stroke I moved my queen, captured one of her pawns and threatened to put her in check.’
    • ‘Rather, I contend that adhering to some principle about not moving such pawns can limit one's play.’
    • ‘Black nudges lots of pawns forward to the third rank and comes out of his corner slowly.’
    • ‘White has his Rook on the seventh rank and Black's queenside pawns are very weak.’
    • ‘He moved his knight forward and deftly captured one of her pawns.’
    • ‘He showed me how to move the various kings, queens, and pawns across the exquisite little board.’
    • ‘He started at his white pawn and moved it forward two spaces.’
    • ‘Also important is the number of pawns on the board, especially when the minor piece is the knight.’
    • ‘A player starts off with a king, a queen, eight pawns, and two each of bishops, knights and rooks.’
    • ‘He looked down at the chess board, at a pawn, and wondered what he would be like.’
    • ‘‘Yes, he said that,’ Gregory said, moving his pawn diagonally to take his companion's bishop.’
    • ‘The game of chess with sword-wielding pawns and deadly queens is both dramatic and mightily beautiful.’
    • ‘While Black's Queen is busy snacking on pawns, White rushes to bring out all his pieces.’
    • ‘It should be developed on the original diagonal without wasting time to push the second pawn.’
    • ‘We can see that without Queens on the board Black's doubled pawns severely impair his mobility.’
    • ‘Leon picked up a piece, one of his last pawns, and moved it.’
    • ‘White cannot prevent the pawns from lining up on the sixth rank.’
    • ‘All squares from h4 all the way back to h8 are covered by Black's pieces and pawns.’
    1. 1.1 A person used by others for their own purposes.
      ‘they had allowed themselves to be used as pawns within the Cold War’
      • ‘Using children as pawns in this game is morally disgusting.’
      • ‘Many times we realise, only in hindsight, that we have been only a pawns in somebody's game.’
      • ‘They were no longer willing to be pawns in the game of power being played out between the Indian and Pakistani governments, or indeed the militants.’
      • ‘To her father, she was merely a bargaining tool, a pawn in the game of politics, not a daughter.’
      • ‘For almost 40 years, they were used as pawns in a game that was supposed to prove which system was better.’
      • ‘Do not let the management use her as a pawn in their little game of oppression.’
      • ‘I was just a pawn in the game between father and son.’
      • ‘But as the editor pointed out some weeks ago, we are only a pawn in a game.’
      • ‘What is happening to our country when well-off landowners can be allowed to treat those less fortunate as pawns in some commercial game?’
      • ‘They are being used as pawns in a political game which will cost lives.’
      • ‘In other words, homeless people had been used as pawns in a political game.’
      • ‘Humans are weak, emotional, and dull minded pawns in this endless game of life.’
      • ‘Just smile and nod and try to understand that your professor is merely a pawn in the game of capitalism.’
      • ‘When did it become okay to use students as pawns in a twisted game?’
      • ‘Few wealthy Americans would turn down an old-world honour that money can't buy, but none would wish to be a pawn in a game of transatlantic politics.’
      • ‘And the operatives were only pawns in their ultimate game of cat and mouse.’
      • ‘Or was he merely a practical pawn in a deadly game?’
      • ‘It is a simple role about how she becomes a pawn in the game of life.’
      • ‘Up to now, these nations have been able to play around with terrorists as if they were pawns in this geopolitical game.’
      • ‘Luck has very little to do with romance, other than to maintain the illusion that we are helpless pawns in the game of love.’
      puppet, dupe, hostage, counter, cog
      View synonyms

Origin

Late Middle English: from Anglo-Norman French poun, from medieval Latin pedo, pedon- ‘foot soldier’, from Latin pes, ped- ‘foot’. Compare with peon.

Pronunciation

pawn

/pɔn//pôn/

Main definitions of pawn in English

: pawn1pawn2

pawn2

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • Deposit (an object) with a pawnbroker as security for money lent.

    ‘I pawned the necklace to cover the loan’
    • ‘It was the one luxury they enjoyed, and no matter how desperate they might be for money, they never entertained the thought of pawning their computer.’
    • ‘After spending six months dancing in the United States, she returned in 1991 and pawned her jewellery to raise start-up cash.’
    • ‘The reality is she's out pawning jewelry and he's paying cash for a boat and keeping it a secret.’
    • ‘I loved her, really, but I needed to pay for a late payment on my car insurance so I pawned her diamond necklace.’
    • ‘I can remember once she told me how she pawned a wedding ring so she could afford to feed a cat in her care.’
    • ‘Women pawned their husbands suits every week just to get money for food.’
    • ‘A thief pawned a gold ring then snatched it back along with the cash he was being paid for it.’
    • ‘Well, he was watching the space where the television would have been if I hadn't pawned it on Saturday to help pay the rent.’
    • ‘Now, I'm thinking about pawning the stereo so I can upgrade to a bigger Yahoo mailbox.’
    • ‘I was so desperate I was down to pawning my grandmother's ring.’
    • ‘We have been pawning the family silver to pleasure ourselves.’
    • ‘Yep, it's her daughters who are pawning jewellery, working extra shifts and using their holiday time to look after her.’
    • ‘With no money to go to Washington D.C. to audition, she had to choose between pawning her karaoke machine or her wedding ring.’
    • ‘And when the fight breaks out, they're the ones picking off all the jewelry and pawning it and selling it on ebay.’
    • ‘When Florentine grooms gave presents of jewels and clothes to their brides, they expected to retain or reappropriate the use of them at a later date, sometimes lending or pawning them.’
    • ‘In earlier centuries, the principal assets people had were their clothes, and they borrowed money by pawning their clothing.’
    • ‘However, such was his poverty that the revolutionary seer was reduced to pawning the silver.’
    • ‘He speaks from experience: back in the beginning, a month after he pawned his cameras, he bought them back with money he made from some of his photographs.’
    • ‘Sources said the man purchased a ring at the jewelry store sometime ago, but pawned it at another branch soon afterwards.’
    • ‘My mother pawned her jewellery to make ends meet and my father went into clinical depression for four years, having lost everything.’
    pledge, deposit with a pawnbroker, put in pawn, give as security, put up as collateral, put up as security, use as collateral, mortgage
    View synonyms

noun

archaic
  • An object left as security for money lent.

Phrases

  • in pawn

    • (of an object) held as security by a pawnbroker.

      ‘all our money was gone and everything was in pawn’
      • ‘Unfortunately, his guitar is in pawn down at the local hock shop because he can't pay his bills on time.’
      • ‘She can't afford to pay off the money all at once and must leave her things in pawn.’
      • ‘A forty-dollar shovel will net you less than six bucks in pawn.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • pawn someone/something off

    • Pass off someone or something unwanted.

      ‘newly industrialized economies are racing to pawn off old processes on poorer countries’
      • ‘I think you need to think about this the next time you decide to support someone who clearly has taken someone else's solution and tried to pawn it off as her own.’
      • ‘Instead, they pawn it off on the Province's tightfistedness.’
      • ‘I'm hoping I can pawn it off on to someone else so it's not at my desk all day.’
      • ‘It might seem like you're trying to pawn him off, and what if he's not interested in her?’
      • ‘I was able to pawn my copy off over the Internet in less than a day.’
      • ‘And, thankfully, at least some of the forms can be pawned off on someone else.’
      • ‘It will only be a matter of time before they try to pawn it off in the black market.’
      • ‘I mean, they've tried to pawn it off on everyone else, why not me?’
      • ‘Prudie is not sure the dinner guests were even trying to pawn these things off as new.’
      • ‘People could've died, and they'd just pawn it off as a tragic accident.’
      • ‘Both boys are pawned off on grandmothers, who will die early and represent the only selfless love either child will know.’
      • ‘The federal government pawned this responsibility off to the municipalities.’
      • ‘Still, his partner was going to pay for pawning him off on the woman.’
      • ‘You don't have the inclination or technical wits to employ the older machine as part of a home network, nor a young kid to pawn it off on.’
      • ‘You don't want the job, or the responsibility that you have, and I can understand that, but don't sell yourself short, and don't try to pawn it off on someone less qualified.’
      • ‘And now her father planned to pawn her off to some clumsy, sword-swinging, foolish son of a peasant?’
      • ‘It's beyond me why they even make such insubstantial little hook and wire gizmos and pawn them off as security devices.’
      • ‘Is it such a normal thing, for fathers to pawn their daughters off like a hawker selling cheap trinkets?’
      • ‘They can steal ideas, for example, and pawn them off as their own.’
      • ‘If they are sold over the counter to adults, criminals will no longer have to pawn these goods off on innocent youths.’

Origin

Late 15th century (as a noun): from Old French pan ‘pledge, security’, of West Germanic origin; related to Dutch pand and German Pfand.

Pronunciation

pawn

/pôn//pɔn/