Definitions

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

  • n. Something given as security for a loan; a pledge or guaranty.
  • n. The condition of being held as a pledge against the payment of a loan: jewels in pawn.
  • n. A person serving as security; a hostage.
  • n. The act of pawning.
  • transitive v. To give or deposit (personal property) as security for the payment of money borrowed.
  • transitive v. To risk; hazard: pawn one's honor.
  • pawn off To dispose or get rid of deceptively: tried to pawn off the fake gemstone as a diamond.
  • n. Games A chess piece of lowest value that may move forward one square at a time or two squares in the first move, capture other pieces only on a one-space diagonal forward move, and be promoted to any piece other than a king upon reaching the eighth rank.
  • n. A person or an entity used to further the purposes of another: an underdeveloped nation that was a pawn in international politics.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The most common chess piece, or a similar piece in a similar game. In chess each side has eight; moves are only forward, attacks are only forward diagonally or en passant.
  • n. Someone who is being manipulated or used to some end, usually not the end that individual would prefer.
  • v. To render one's opponent a mere pawn, especially in a real-time strategy games.
  • n. The state of being held as security for a loan, or as a pledge.
  • n. An instance of pawning something.
  • n. An item given as security on a loan, or as a pledge.
  • n. A pawn shop, pawnbroker.
  • v. To pledge; to stake or wager.
  • v. To give as security on a loan of money; especially, to deposit (something) at a pawn shop.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. See pan, the masticatory.
  • n. A man or piece of the lowest rank.
  • n. Anything delivered or deposited as security, as for the payment of money borrowed, or of a debt; a pledge. See pledge, n., 1.
  • n. State of being pledged; a pledge for the fulfillment of a promise.
  • n. A stake hazarded in a wager.
  • transitive v. To give or deposit in pledge, or as security for the payment of money borrowed; to put in pawn; to pledge.
  • transitive v. To pledge for the fulfillment of a promise; to stake; to risk; to wager; to hazard.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Something given or deposited as security, as for money borrowed; security; pledge.
  • n. A pledge or promise.
  • n. A gage; a challenge.
  • n. The condition of being pledged or held as security, as for the payment of a debt or the fulfilment of a promise, etc.: as, to be in pawn or at pawn.
  • n. A pawnshop; a pawnbroker's establishment.
  • n. At pawn, in pawn, pledged; hence, laid away; not available.
  • To give or deposit in pledge, or as security for the payment of money borrowed; pledge.
  • To pledge for the fulfilment of a promise.
  • n. A piece of the lowest rank and value at chess. See chess.
  • n. Marked pawn. See marked.
  • n. A peacock; in heraldry, a peacock used as a bearing.
  • n. Mast, or similar food for animals. Also spelled pawne.
  • n. A gallery.
  • n. Same as pan.
  • To put up as collateral: hypothecate, as stock for a loan.

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

  • n. an article deposited as security
  • n. a person used by another to gain an end
  • n. (chess) the least powerful piece; moves only forward and captures only to the side; it can be promoted to a more powerful piece if it reaches the 8th rank
  • v. leave as a guarantee in return for money
  • n. borrowing and leaving an article as security for repayment of the loan

Etymologies

Middle English paun, from Old French pan, of Germanic origin .
Middle English, from Old French pedon, paon, from Medieval Latin pedō, pedōn-, foot soldier, from Late Latin, one who has wide feet, from Latin pēs, ped-, foot; see ped- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle French pan ("pledge, security"), apparently from a Germanic language (compare Middle Dutch pant, Old High German pfant). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • These commercials have women with shopping bags talking about sales that couldn't be missed, young couples waving fistsfull of cash while driving off in a car from the title pawn saying "We even got to keep our car".

    Time To Budget

  • & Cash, a title pawn and car sales shop on U.S. 431 near Claysville Junior High School.

    Sand Mountain Reporter: News

  • Ricky Allen Moody, 58, was murdered Oct. 23 at his Claysville business, Motors & Cash, a title pawn and car sales shop on U.S. 431 near Claysville Junior High School.

    Sand Mountain Reporter: News

  • Reports said a customer discovered Moody's body inside Motors & Cash, a title pawn and car sales business on U.S. 431 near Claysville Junior High School.

    Sand Mountain Reporter: News

  • Editors and publishers contributed to the daily heap of letters, the former on their knees for his manuscripts, the latter on their knees for his books — his poor disdained manuscripts that had kept all he possessed in pawn for so many dreary months in order to find them in postage.

    Chapter 46

  • At his lowest ebb, when his black suit was in pawn, he made a ten-strike - or so it seemed to him — in a prize contest arranged by the County

    Chapter 29

  • Thanksgiving found him with his black suit in pawn and unable to accept the

    Chapter 33

  • I see a lot of them for sale in pawn shops, a good indication the novelty has worn off.

    PA Approves Crossbows For Archery Seasons

  • Meanwhile, on the queen's side the bishop's pawn is "Innkeeper," knight's pawn is "Toll-gatherer," and castle's pawn is "Jester."

    Architecture and Memory: The Renaissance Studioli of Federico da Montefeltro

  • Each pawn has its own evocative designation; the king's pawn is referred to as the "Treasurer," and the queen's pawn is listed as "Doctor."

    Architecture and Memory: The Renaissance Studioli of Federico da Montefeltro

Comments

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  • Also (hist.), a gallery, colonnade, or covered walk; esp. one in a bazaar, market, exchange, etc., within which traders display their goods for sale.

    August 6, 2008

  • The chess piece comes from the Anglo-Norman for "walker". This is because pawns are the foot soldiers of chess.

    February 21, 2007