Peon



[pee-uh n, pee-on] /ˈpi ən, ˈpi ɒn/

noun
1.
(in Spanish America) a farm worker or unskilled laborer; day laborer.
2.
(formerly, especially in Mexico) a person held in servitude to work off debts or other obligations.
3.
any person of low social status, especially one who does work regarded as menial or unskilled; drudge.
[pee-uh n, pee-on] /ˈpi ən, ˈpi ɒn/
noun, (in India and Sri Lanka)
1.
a messenger, attendant, or orderly.
2.
a foot soldier or police officer.
/ˈpiːən; ˈpiːɒn/
noun
1.
a Spanish-American farm labourer or unskilled worker
2.
(formerly in Spanish America) a debtor compelled to work off his debts
3.
any very poor person
/pjuːn; ˈpiːən; ˈpiːɒn/
noun (in India, Sri Lanka, etc, esp formerly)
1.
a messenger or attendant, esp in an office
2.
a native policeman
3.
a foot soldier
n.

unskilled worker, 1826, from Mexican Spanish peon “agricultural laborer” (especially a debtor held in servitude by his creditor), from Spanish peon “day laborer,” also “pedestrian,” originally “foot soldier,” from Medieval Latin pedonem “foot soldier” (see pawn (n.2)). The word entered British English earlier (c.1600) in the sense “native constable, soldier, or messenger in India,” via Portuguese peao “pedestrian, foot soldier, day laborer.”

jargon
A person with no special (root or wheel) privileges on a computer system. “I can’t create an account on foovax for you; I’m only a peon there.”
[Jargon File]
(2001-12-23)

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