One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A poor farmer of low social status who owns or rents a small piece of land for cultivation (chiefly in historical use or with reference to subsistence farming in poorer countries)
agricultural worker, small farmer, rustic, son of the soil, countryman, countrywoman, farmhand, swain, villein, serfView synonyms
- ‘You know a lot of farmers and peasants cannot use a sword, but most of them are familiar with crossbows.’
- ‘As a result, poor peasants might find themselves paying their dues to a wealthy peasant, and never see the lord at all.’
- ‘They were short of land, monopolized as it was by capitalist farmers and aged peasants.’
- ‘Lula has also raised calls for radical land reform to assist peasants and the rural poor.’
- ‘Noble, bourgeois, and peasant alike associated status with exemption from public demands.’
- ‘It was no longer divided between the small élite of landowners and a mass of peasants and the poor.’
- ‘When the workers, urban poor and peasants want things from such a bourgeoisie they have to fight for them.’
- ‘They set out the next day and at evening approached a small hut from which a poor peasant emerged.’
- ‘A tan face signifies the status of a lowly peasant who has worked in the fields all her life.’
- ‘He has directed policies that have resulted in the driving of millions of poor peasants from their land.’
- ‘Poor peasants can be easily persuaded to plant the crop - either by fists full of dollars or guns to the temple.’
- ‘The chickpea was certainly used by the Romans, but regarded as a food for peasants and poor people.’
- ‘The victims were from a group of poor peasants who had occupied a 49-acre plot of land.’
- ‘In the countryside peasants began organising to seize land and to withhold rent.’
- ‘Some poorer peasants sold their land as soon as their ownership was confirmed, and then went to the towns in search of work.’
- ‘Labour tenants, intent on salvaging some of their status as peasants, were often reluctant workers.’
- ‘It was also true that the country was still poor and that the life of a peasant was hard.’
- ‘The peasants have become poorer and the working class has been exploited to the point where the worker is almost a slave.’
- ‘The peasants and poor suffered an unbearable reduction in their standard of living during the war.’
- ‘The black majority were reduced to impoverished peasants and landless labourers.’
- 1.1informal An ignorant, rude, or unsophisticated person; a person of low social status.
Late Middle English: from Old French paisent ‘country dweller’, from pais ‘country’, based on Latin pagus ‘country district’.
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