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[pee-uh-nij] /ˈpi ə nɪdʒ/

the condition or service of a .
the practice of holding persons in servitude or partial slavery, as to work off a debt or to serve a penal sentence.
the state of being a peon
a system in which a debtor must work for his creditor until the debt is paid off

1848, American English, from peon + -age.
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.


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