peasant


peasant
peasantlike, adj.
/pez"euhnt/, n.
1. a member of a class of persons, as in Europe, Asia, and Latin America, who are small farmers or farm laborers of low social rank.
2. a coarse, unsophisticated, boorish, uneducated person of little financial means.
adj.
3. of, pertaining to, or characteristic of peasants or their traditions, way of life, crafts, etc.
4. of or designating a style of clothing modeled on the folk costumes of Western cultures, esp. women's full-sleeved, round-necked blouses and long, full skirts.
[1375-1425; late ME paissaunt < AF paisant, OF païsant, earlier païsenc, equiv. to païs country ( < LL pagensis, equiv. to L pag(us) country district + -ensis -ENSIS) + -enc < Gmc (see -ING3)]

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Any member of a class that tills the soil as small landowners or agricultural labourers.

The peasant economy generally has a simple technology and a division of labour by age and sex. The basic unit of production is the family or household. Peasant families traditionally consume what they produce, though a portion of their output may be sold in the market or paid to a landlord. Productivity per worker and yields per unit of land are usually low. Peasants as a class tend to disappear as a society industrializes, though peasantlike social structures may persist under new economic regimens. See also ejido; feudalism; hacienda; serfdom.

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      any member of a class of persons who till the soil as small landowners or as agricultural labourers. The term peasant originally referred to small-scale agriculturalists in Europe in historic times, but many other societies, both past and present, have had a peasant class.

      The peasant economy generally has a relatively simple technology and a division of labour by age and sex. The basic unit of production is the family or household. One distinguishing characteristic of peasant agriculture is self-sufficiency. Peasant families consume a substantial part of what they produce, and while some of their output may be sold in the market, their total production is generally not much larger than what is needed for the maintenance of the family. Both productivity per worker and yields per unit of land are low.

      Peasants as a class have tended to disappear as a society industrializes. This is due to the mechanization of farming, the resulting consolidation of farming plots into larger units, and the accompanying emigration of rural dwellers to the cities and other sites of industrial employment. The small-scale agriculture associated with peasant labour is simply too inefficient to be economically viable in developed countries.

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Universalium. 2010.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Peasant — Peas ant, n. [OF. pa[ i]sant (the i being perh. due to confusion with the p. pr. of verbs), pa[ i]san, F. paysan, fr. OF. & F. pays country, fr. L. pagus the country. See {Pagan}.] A countryman; a rustic; especially, one of the lowest class of… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Peasant — Peas ant, a. Rustic, rural. Spenser. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • peasant — index ignoble Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • peasant — early 15c., from Anglo Fr. paisant (mid 14c.), O.Fr. paisent (12c.), earlier paisenc, from pais country, region + Frankish suffix enc ing. Pais is from L.L. pagensis inhabitant of the district, from L. pagus country or rural district (see PAGAN… …   Etymology dictionary

  • peasant — [n] farmer boor, bumpkin, countryman/woman, cropper, farmhand, hayseed*, hick*, hired hand, laborer, peon, planter, provincial, rube, rustic, serf, sharecropper, villein; concepts 347,348,423 …   New thesaurus

  • peasant — ► NOUN 1) a poor smallholder or agricultural labourer of low social status. 2) informal an ignorant, rude, or unsophisticated person. DERIVATIVES peasantry noun. ORIGIN Old French paisent, from pais country …   English terms dictionary

  • peasant — [pez′ənt] n. [LME paissaunt < Anglo Fr paisant < MFr païsent < OFr < païs, country < LL pagensis, belonging to the district < pagus, district: see PAGAN] 1. any person of the class of small farmers or of farm laborers, as in… …   English World dictionary

  • Peasant — A peasant is an agricultural worker who subsists by working a small plot of ground. The word is derived from 15th century French païsant meaning one from the pays , or countryside. The term peasant today is sometimes used in a pejorative sense… …   Wikipedia

  • peasant */ — UK [ˈpez(ə)nt] / US [ˈpezənt] noun [countable] Word forms peasant : singular peasant plural peasants 1) someone who works on another person s farm or on their own small farm. This word is used mainly about people in poor countries or people in… …   English dictionary

  • peasant —    Used as a term of abuse to a person, usually a man, to imply that he is without education or manners. The term is certainly not obsolete, as the Oxford English Dictionary states, though it is less used now than in earlier times.    The… …   A dictionary of epithets and terms of address


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