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peasant

[pez-uh nt] /ˈpɛz ənt/
noun
1.
a member of a class of persons, as in Europe, Asia, and Latin America, who are small farmers or farm laborers of low social rank.
2.
a coarse, unsophisticated, boorish, uneducated person of little financial means.
adjective
3.
of, relating to, or characteristic of peasants or their traditions, way of life, crafts, etc.
4.
of or designating a style of clothing modeled on the folk costumes of Western cultures, especially women's full-sleeved, round-necked blouses and long, full skirts.
Origin
late Middle English
1375-1425
1375-1425; late Middle English paissaunt < Anglo-French paisant, Old French païsant, earlier païsenc, equivalent to païs country (< Late Latin pāgēnsis, equivalent to Latin pāg(us) country district + -ēnsis -ensis) + -enc < Germanic (see -ing3)
Related forms
peasantlike, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for peasants
  • Then he fled to the hills, where he hid out in peasants' sheds for three months.
  • Links literary and artistic depictions of peasants' clothing and transgressive behavior to elite anxieties.
  • The peasants banded together, burned the bulldozer, and blocked the road from the border.
  • When he first came in and talked about reform he said, we're going to pay off the peasants.
  • peasants bring her gifts in hopes that she will intercede for them.
  • On top of that, peasants resented the gabelle, a tax on salt that was particularly unfairly applied to the poor.
  • Some of the deer escaped, but they were eaten by starving local peasants.
  • Some tired-looking peasants are walking down a road at sunset, carrying sheaves of wheat.
  • The village is home to around a hundred and fifty peasants, who make their living primarily from orchards.
  • In the history of the world, if you're one of the peasants, the one access you have to learning is through religion.
British Dictionary definitions for peasants

peasant

/ˈpɛzənt/
noun
1.
  1. a member of a class of low social status that depends on either cottage industry or agricultural labour as a means of subsistence
  2. (as modifier): peasant dress
2.
(informal) a person who lives in the country; rustic
3.
(informal) an uncouth or uncultured person
Word Origin
C15: from Anglo-French, from Old French païsant, from païs country, from Latin pāgus rural area; see pagan
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for peasants

peasant

n.

early 15c., from Anglo-French paisant (mid-14c.), Old French paisent "local inhabitant" (12c., Modern French paysan), earlier paisenc, from pais "country, region" + Frankish suffix -enc "-ing."

Pais is from Late Latin pagensis "(inhabitant) of the district," from Latin pagus "country or rural district" (see pagan). As a style of garment in fashion (e.g. peasant blouse) from 1953.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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peasants in Culture

peasant definition


A farmer or agricultural worker of low status. The word is applied chiefly to agricultural workers in Asia, Europe, and South America, who generally adhere to traditional agricultural practices and have little social mobility or freedom.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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