Definition of peon in English:



  • 1A Spanish-American day laborer or unskilled farm worker.

    • ‘Although we'd love to see that record in print, too, us superior folk would no longer have anything to lord over the peons.’
    • ‘In 1901, the councillors gave up the privilege of having peons who used to accompany them during assessments and inspections.’
    • ‘If you are going to play favorites, don't tell us peons about it.’
    • ‘This is a big time saver as far as training peasants, peons, wisps, and acolytes, which serve as the gatherers of lumber and gold and also provide the muscle to construct your base structures.’
    • ‘The earth-shattering declaration (which was an absolute absurdity, really) came from a tall, willowy girl surrounded by what could only be classified as a gaggle of peons.’
    • ‘After playing the game for 50 minutes, the computer will have successfully constructed one farm and three peons, each of which are harvesting lumber for no reason.’
    • ‘Coal is simply harvested by henchmen (peasant or peons for the rest of you) and these two resources are all that's needed to wage war.’
    • ‘When catalyzed with money, governmentium becomes administratium, an element that radiates just as much energy, since it has one-half as many peons but twice as many morons.’
    • ‘In this world, you are unable to control any peasants or peons directly.’
    • ‘Spanish-speaking peon laborers from Venezuela arrived in the nineteenth century to clear forests and work in cocoa cultivation.’
    • ‘Now will you tell us lowly peons what we're doing here?’
    • ‘Over the years, the self-described ‘former tyrant’ has learned that a company comes to life when it treats its staff as peers rather than as peons.’
    • ‘The power you think you wield is limited to a few faithful peons.’
    • ‘Don't worry, it's just a little incentive to get her to socialize with us peons.’
    • ‘After the 1979 revolution, they argued that women cannot be judges, and they made us all into peons in the ministry of justice.’
    • ‘Then again, if empty words and promises is all that it takes to placate the peons that inhabit the hinterlands, then why go through the bother of even trying to provide real solutions?’
    • ‘If you'll excuse me, I am rather busy, and don't care to discuss civic reform with peons.’
    • ‘I will not waste my precious time with peons such at these.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, he didn't say a word about how we peons could implement this idea in our classes, so it seemed a bit unapproachable.’
    • ‘He was foolish to think that anything but fear could rule these peons.’
    1. 1.1North American A person who does menial work; a drudge.
      ‘racing drivers aren't exactly normal nine-to-five peons’
      • ‘She was a smart mechanic, but she was still a mere peon to the vassal that owned her.’
      • ‘‘They talk about who's in charge and who are the peons,’ he says.’
      servant, domestic servant, domestic, drudge, maid of all work
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    2. 1.2historical A debtor held in servitude by a creditor, especially in the southern US and Mexico.
      • ‘Thus the Southern peon is not, in fact, and as an individual, as irrevocably bound to the wheel of industry as his Northern brother, since he may always escape to churldom.’
      • ‘This political art project was designed to compensate the impoverished peons of Mexico for the failure of the 1910-1919 revolution led by Zapata and Pancho Villa.’
  • 2(in South and Southeast Asia) someone of low rank.

    • ‘He also shows how peons sought to escape military demands and to redefine their relationship with the state by migrating, changing identity, and reinventing a new political and military persona.’
    • ‘They had come from the slums of the favelas with a dream of being a patron of a large estate centered with a grand hacienda: Indian peons would work their wide acreage and cater to their needs.’
    • ‘For the footsoldiers of such opposition are usually the same poor peons whose livelihood derives from cultivating cannabis or coca.’
    • ‘Harvesting of the plant was a speculative enterprise, with Indian debt peons spending months in the forest harvesting, drying and bailing the crop.’
    • ‘From Old French, it went to Portuguese which gave it to Indian languages as peon: one who walks ahead of the master, a factotum.’
    worker, factory worker, manual worker, unskilled worker, blue-collar worker, workman, workwoman, workperson, working man, labourer, operative, hired hand, hireling, roustabout, employee, artisan
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 An attendant or messenger.


From Portuguese peão and Spanish peón, from medieval Latin pedo, pedon- ‘walker, foot soldier’, from Latin pes, ped- ‘foot’. Compare with pawn.