peonage

[pee-uh-nij]
noun
1.
the condition or service of a peon.
2.
the practice of holding persons in servitude or partial slavery, as to work off a debt or to serve a penal sentence.

Origin:
1840–50, Americanism; peon1 + -age

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Collins
World English Dictionary
peonage or peonism (ˈpiːənɪdʒ, ˈpiːəˌnɪzəm)
 
n
1.  the state of being a peon
2.  a system in which a debtor must work for his creditor until the debt is paid off
 
peonism or peonism
 
n

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
peonage [(pee-uh-nij)]

A system of forced labor based on debts incurred by workers. Peonage developed particularly in plantation economies, where employers forced laborers to buy from employer-owned stores, pay inflated prices, and stay in debt.

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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Example sentences
Whether all or some of the peonage investigators were called special agents is not known.
Peonage is a condition of involuntary servitude imposed to extract repayment of an indebtedness.
Has the primary enforcement responsibility for the involuntary servitude and peonage statutes.
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