American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. The condition of being a peon.
- n. A system by which debtors are bound in servitude to their creditors until their debts are paid.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A form of servitude existing in Spanish America. It prevailed especially in Mexico.
- n. The holding, by illegal methods, of free negroes or whites in a condition of semi-slavery, specifically in the southern part of the United States: also applied to the abuse of the convict lease system in the South.
- n. In India, service or employment of peons as messengers, etc.
- n. The state of being a peon; the system of paying back debt through servitude and labour; loosely, any system of involuntary servitude.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. The condition of a peon.
- n. the practice of making a debtor work for his creditor until the debt is discharged
- n. the condition of a peon
- From peon + -age. (Wiktionary)
“If that isn't substitution of peonage for chattel slavery, I don't know what the word peonage means.”
“That was the whole point of much of their oppressive labor legislation — keeping the former slaves in peonage.”
“Under his regime, foreigners and the Mexican upper class minority who supported them lived splendidly on their haciendas and ranchos, while the great majority of Mexicans were poor agricultural workers, campesinos, who still lived under the thumb of the hacendados, often in peonage.”
“The fact that the majority of leased convicts was African American reinforced the notion that blacks would only work productively in peonage.”
“This was the only kind of peonage he liked to deal with.”
“Indeed, under the name of "peonage" the work of re-establishing a system of slaveholding that is barbarous in the extreme is already begun.”
“It points out that there are countless others in other forms of servitude (such as peonage, bonded labor and servile concubinage) which are not slavery in the narrow legal sense.”
“Your Honor, the word 'peonage' has a specific meaning at law.”
“* But “when it came to an end, finally in the late 1870s . . . the freed slaves found themselves abandoned by the federal government to face a system of economic peonage and legal subordination alone.””
“Some madams abused their employees or placed them in peonage, but these tended to be the less successful brothel keepers.”
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