Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The condition of being a peon.
  • noun A system by which debtors are bound in servitude to their creditors until their debts are paid.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A form of servitude existing in Spanish America. It prevailed especially in Mexico.
  • noun 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.
  • noun In India, service or employment of peons as messengers, etc.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The condition of a peon.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun The state of being a peon; the system of paying back debt through servitude and labour; loosely, any system of involuntary servitude.

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

  • noun the practice of making a debtor work for his creditor until the debt is discharged
  • noun the condition of a peon

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From peon +‎ -age.

Examples

  • If that isn't substitution of peonage for chattel slavery, I don't know what the word peonage means.

    A Slave is a Slave

  • That was the whole point of much of their oppressive labor legislation — keeping the former slaves in peonage.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » Why do Libertarians Like Federalism?

  • 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.

    Murder in Mexico: an English family during the Revolution

  • 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.

    Murder in Mexico: an English family during the Revolution

  • 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.

    Murder in Mexico: an English family during the Revolution

  • The fact that the majority of leased convicts was African American reinforced the notion that blacks would only work productively in peonage.

    Leasing Life

  • This was the only kind of peonage he liked to deal with.

    Murder Without Icing

  • Indeed, under the name of "peonage" the work of re-establishing a system of slaveholding that is barbarous in the extreme is already begun.

    The Abolitionists Together With Personal Memories Of The Struggle For Human Rights

  • 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.

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  • "Your Honor, the word 'peonage' has a specific meaning at law.

    The Fuzzy Papers

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