Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A member of the class constituted by small farmers and tenants, sharecroppers, and laborers on the land where they form the main labor force in agriculture.
  • n. A country person; a rustic.
  • n. An uncouth, crude, or ill-bred person; a boor.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A member of the lowly social class which toils on the land, constituted by small farmers and tenants, sharecroppers, farmhands and other laborers on the land where they form the main labor force in agriculture and horticulture.
  • n. A country person.
  • n. An uncouth, crude or ill-bred person.
  • n. a worker unit

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Rustic, rural.
  • n. A countryman; a rustic; especially, one of the lowest class of tillers of the soil in European countries.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A person of inferior rank or condition living in the country or in a rural village, and usually engaged in agricultural labor; a rustic; a countryman.
  • Of or pertaining to, or characteristic of, peasants; rustic; rural: often used as an epithet of reproach.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. one of a (chiefly European) class of agricultural laborers
  • n. a country person
  • n. a crude uncouth ill-bred person lacking culture or refinement

Etymologies

Middle English paissaunt, from Old French paisant, from pais, country, from Late Latin pāgēnsis, inhabitant of a district, from Latin pāgus, district; see pag- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Late Middle English paissaunt, from Anglo-Norman paisant, from Middle French païsant ("païsant"), from Old French païsan ("countryman, peasant"), from païs ("country"), from Late Latin pāgēnsis ("inhabitant of a district"), from Latin pāgus ("district") + Old French -enc ("member of"), from Frankish -inc, -ing "-ing". More at -ing. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • In the tape, only one peasant is shown to possess a machete (scarcely unusual for a mountain peasant), and no guns are seen among them (although at a show-and-tell the next week, four or five weapons were displayed by the Judiciales who claimed that they came from the truck).

    Mexico electronico

  • Those who farm in the US distance themselves from the term peasant, thinking it connotes a tenant, sharecropper, a small farmer or mere farm worker.

    Organic Consumers Association News Headlines

  • Ugh. If the king hadn't left the sack of gold there, are we to think the peasant is a chump?

    Archive 2009-04-01

  • A goat to a poor Mexican peasant is their source of livelihood.

    Oh! Ouch! �Ay! The first really bad news from Mexico

  • “Like many other armies in peasant and tribal societies,” writes Channa Wickremesekera in Kandy at War: Indigenous Military Resistance to European Expansion in Sri Lanka 1594 to 1818 (2004), “the Kandyan army fought in loosely organized and highly mobile units depending on a flimsy logistical base,” making optimum use of its rugged, jungly terrain.

    Buddha’s Savage Peace

  • “Christian” life, as he called his peasant existence.

    War and Peace

  • The Latin American peasant does not have water, electricity, doctors, medicine, or vaccination campaigns.

    THIRD NATL MEETING OF COOPERATIVES

  • For the Latin American peasant this would be a true fantasy, a dream.

    THIRD NATL MEETING OF COOPERATIVES

  • There were dolls in Greek peasant costume, in Laevatian peasant costume, in Albanian peasant costume; baby dolls, little girl dolls, soldier dolls, black dolls.

    Ruined City

  • You are not a better man than any peasant from the Serbian villages.

    Serbia in Light and Darkness With Preface by the Archbishop of Canterbury, (1916)

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • "Writing of the peasantry of his native village in the Abruzzo, Ignazio Silone ... wrote 'God ... is at the head of everything. He commands everything. Everybody knows that.

    Then comes Prince Torlonia, ruler of the earth.
    Then come his guards.
    Then come his guards' dogs.
    Then nothing.
    Then more nothing.
    Then come the peasants.
    That's all."
    —quoted in Jerre Mangione and Ben Morreale, La Storia: Five Centuries of the Italian American Experience (New York: HarperPerennial, 1992), 49

    December 2, 2009