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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ Legislators dependent on campaign contributions became the pawns of competing special-interest lobbies, who held each other in check.
▪ The promiscuous princess quickly becomes a pawn.
▪ The ambassador was being used as a pawn in the struggle between the two superpowers.
▪ The soldiers were nothing more than pawns, regarded as dispensable by their officers.
▪ All other captures fail to 42 g4 but now Black's passed pawns should be enough to win.
▪ But the blocked spending bills are pawns in a larger debate over the parties' competing seven-year balanced-budget plans.
▪ He proposed to make the army-the dependable support of the Constitution rather than the pawn of politicians to effect its overthrow.
▪ Instead a blunder in the opening left him a pawn down, on the verge of defeat.
▪ Legislators dependent on campaign contributions became the pawns of competing special-interest lobbies, who held each other in check.
▪ Pretty ignominious sort of territorial pawn at that.
▪ The game was adjourned after 63 moves, with Speelman trying to win with rook and bishop against rook and pawn.
▪ When I entered our room I found Mum had down two more vases and was sorting out a pile of pawn tickets.
▪ Popes were not always above pawning their tiaras.
▪ Says I should pawn my jewellery.
▪ She sets out to pawn for passage money a necklace which belonged to her father, who died before she knew him.
▪ The wooden booths where people would bring in their items to pawn for cash, or more likely beer, still exist.
▪ Treat yourself to it, even if it means pawning something you can live without.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Pawn \Pawn\, n. [OE. paune, poun, OF. peon, poon, F. pion, LL. pedo a foot soldier, fr. L. pes, pedis, foot. See Foot, and cf. Pioneer, Peon.] (Chess) A man or piece of the lowest rank.


Pawn \Pawn\, n. [OF. pan pledge, assurance, skirt, piece, F. pan skirt, lappet, piece, from L. pannus. See Pane.]

  1. Anything delivered or deposited as security, as for the payment of money borrowed, or of a debt; a pledge. See Pledge, n., 1.

    As for mortgaging or pawning, . . . men will not take pawns without use [i. e., interest].

  2. State of being pledged; a pledge for the fulfillment of a promise. [R.]

    Redeem from broking pawn the blemish'd crown.

    As the morning dew is a pawn of the evening fatness.

  3. A stake hazarded in a wager. [Poetic]

    My life I never held but as a pawn To wage against thy enemies.

    In pawn, At pawn, in the state of being pledged. ``Sweet wife, my honor is at pawn.''

    Pawn ticket, a receipt given by the pawnbroker for an article pledged.


Pawn \Pawn\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Pawned; p. pr. & vb. n. Pawning.]

  1. To give or deposit in pledge, or as security for the payment of money borrowed; to put in pawn; to pledge; as, to pawn one's watch.

    And pawned the last remaining piece of plate.

  2. To pledge for the fulfillment of a promise; to stake; to risk; to wager; to hazard.

    Pawning his honor to obtain his lust.


Pawn \Pawn\, n. See Pan, the masticatory.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

"something left as security," late 15c. (mid-12c. as Anglo-Latin pandum), from Old French pan, pant "pledge, security," also "booty, plunder," perhaps from Frankish or some other Germanic source (compare Old High German pfant, German Pfand, Middle Dutch pant, Old Frisian pand "pledge"), from West Germanic *panda, of unknown origin.\n

\nThe Old French word is identical to pan "cloth, piece of cloth," from Latin pannum (nominative pannus) "cloth, piece of cloth, garment" and Klein's sources feel this is the source of both the Old French and West Germanic words (perhaps on the notion of cloth used as a medium of exchange).


lowly chess piece, late 14c., from Anglo-French poun, Old French peon, earlier pehon, from Medieval Latin pedonem "foot soldier," from Late Latin pedonem (nominative pedo) "one going on foot," from Latin pes (genitive pedis) "foot" (see foot (n.)). The chess sense was in Old French by 13c. Figurative use, of persons, is from 1580s.


"to give (something) as security in exchange for," 1560s, from pawn (n.1). Related: Pawned; pawning.


Etymology 1 n. 1 (label en chess) 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. 2 (label en colloquial) Someone who is being manipulated or used to some end, usually not the end that individual would prefer. Etymology 2

n. 1 The state of being held as security for a loan, or as a pledge. 2 An instance of pawning something. 3 (context now rare English) An item given as security on a loan, or as a pledge. 4 (context rare English) A pawn shop, pawnbroker. vb. 1 To pledge; to stake or wager. 2 To give as security on a loan of money; especially, to deposit (something) at a pawn shop. Etymology 3

n. (alternative form of paan English) Etymology 4

vb. (context video games English) (alternative form of pwn English)


v. leave as a guarantee in return for money; "pawn your grandfather's gold watch" [syn: soak, hock]

  1. n. an article deposited as security

  2. a person used by another to gain an end [syn: instrument, cat's-paw]

  3. (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

  4. borrowing and leaving an article as security for repayment of the loan

Pawn (chess)

The pawn (♙♟) is the most numerous piece in the game of chess, and in most circumstances, also the weakest. It historically represents infantry, or more particularly, armed peasants or pikemen. Each player begins a game of chess with eight pawns, one on each square of the rank immediately in front of the other pieces. (In algebraic notation, the white pawns start on a2, b2, c2, ..., h2, while black pawns start on a7, b7, c7, ..., h7.)

Individual pawns are referred to by the file on which they stand. For example, one speaks of "White's f-pawn" or "Black's b-pawn", or less commonly (using descriptive notation), "White's king bishop pawn" or "Black's queen knight pawn". It is also common to refer to a rook pawn, meaning any pawn on the a- or h-file, a knight pawn (on the b- or g-file), a bishop pawn (on the c- or f-file), a queen pawn (on the d-file), a king pawn (on the e-file), and a central pawn (on either the d- or e-file).


Pawn may refer to:

  • Doris Pawn (1894–1988), an American actress of the silent film era
  • Pawn (chess), the weakest and most numerous piece in the game
  • Pawn (film), 2013 film
  • Pawn River, Burma
  • Pawn Stars television series on the History Channel
  • PAWN, an online multiplayer flash game
  • Pawn, another name for a pledge (law) in certain jurisdictions
  • PAWN, International Civil Aviation Organization code for Noatak Airport
  • Pawnshop/ pawnbroker
  • The Pawn, a 1980s text adventure
  • Pawn, Oregon, an historic forest community
Pawn (film)

Pawn is a 2013 film directed by David A. Armstrong.

Usage examples of "pawn".

I lost every day, I owed money everywhere, I had pawned all my jewels, and even my portrait cases, taking the precaution, however, of removing the portraits, which with my important papers and my amorous letters I had placed in the hands of Madame Manzoni.

Wracked by jealousy, Cornelia had become the pawn of Asterion, the ancient Minotaur and archenemy of the Game, and had murdered Genvissa just as she and Brutus were about to complete the Game.

It made sense if the King was planning to use Atheling Radgar as a pawn in international politics and needed to make sure Wasp kept his mouth shut in the meantime.

The culprit, Captain Audion, dead at his console with his accomplices scattered around him like so many checked pawns.

Ortaias Sphrantzes, a foolish, trivial young man with more bombast than sense, was only a pawn in the hands of his uncle Vardanes.

And while Cai could grill a mean shark steak, he humbly accepted his sexist role of landscape pawn and maintainer of all things mechanical, and left the kitchen to the queen.

Saturday came but no count, and as I had no money I pawned my diamond ring and replaced the hundred louis I owed the till.

If the black king can be checkmated more quickly, or if either pawn can at any time make any other move and yet achieve the same result, the problem is cooked, which is to say, worthless.

The Double Excelsior, but with black victorious in the end: two lonely pawns, one white and one black, pathetic in their powerlessness, beginning on their home squares and matching each other, move for move, until, on the fifth turn, each reaches the far end of the board and becomes a knight, the final move checkmating the white king.

Pauline toyed with the pawns, and I asked her if she could play chess.

At the edges of the battle, beyond the Demesne, stolid files of pawns.

His symptoms themselves developed symptoms, troughs and nodes he charted with morbid attention in the dumpster, in his suspenders and horrid tweed cap, clutching a shopping bag with his wig and coat and comely habilements he could neither wear nor pawn.

If the musicke kepte still one time, those eyght vnyforme pawnes did spende the time in marching forwardes into an other checker, neuer comming backe vntill that worthily without touch or appalement of courage, they had leapt vppon the line of that square where was the residence of the Queene, proceeding straight on, vnlesse she tooke a prisoner by a Diagonick line.

She doubted whether Firman had been more than a pawn on the maze-like board of play among Battle, Battle, Allwright and Cassius.

He adored Galatea, and it was not her fault that her husband liked to manipulate his family like pawns on a chessboard.