Definition of "peonage" [pe•on•age]

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

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "peonage" in a sentence
  • "If that isn't substitution of peonage for chattel slavery, I don't know what the word peonage means."
  • "That was the whole point of much of their oppressive labor legislation — keeping the former slaves in peonage."
  • "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."