Word Origin & History
"something left as security," 1496 (c.1145 as Anglo-L. pandum), from O.Fr. pan, pant "pledge, security," also "booty, plunder," perhaps from Frank. (cf. O.H.G. pfant, Ger. Pfand, M.Du. pant, O.Fris. pand "pledge"), from W.Gmc. *panda, of unknown origin. The O.Fr. word is identical to pan "cloth, piece
of cloth," from L. pannem (nom. pannus) "piece of cloth," and some feel this is the source of both the O.Fr. and W.Gmc. words (perhaps on the notion of cloth used as a medium of exchange). The verb is first attested 1567, from the noun. Pawnbroker is from 1687; pawn-shop is from 1849.
"lowly chess piece," 1369, from Anglo-Fr. poun, O.Fr. peon, earlier pehon, from M.L. pedonem "foot soldier," from L.L. pedonem (nom. pedo) "one going on foot," from L. pes (gen. pedis) "foot" (see foot
). The chess sense was in O.Fr. by 13c. Fig. use, of persons, is from 1589.