Definition of pawn in English:


Line breaks: pawn
Pronunciation: /pɔːn


[with object]
Deposit (an object) with a pawnbroker as security for money lent: I pawned the necklace to cover the loan
More example sentences
  • When Florentine grooms gave presents of jewels and clothes to their brides, they expected to retain or reappropriate the use of them at a later date, sometimes lending or pawning them.
  • In earlier centuries, the principal assets people had were their clothes, and they borrowed money by pawning their clothing.
  • I loved her, really, but I needed to pay for a late payment on my car insurance so I pawned her diamond necklace.
pledge, deposit with a pawnbroker, put in pawn, give as security, put up as security/collateral, use as collateral, mortgage
informal hock, put in hock
British informal pop


archaic Back to top  
An object left as security for money lent: the bank did lend money upon pawns at low interest


late 15th century (as a noun): from Old French pan 'pledge, security', of West Germanic origin; related to Dutch pand and German Pfand.


in pawn

(Of an object) held as security by a pawnbroker: our money was gone and everything was in pawn
More example sentences
  • A forty-dollar shovel will net you less than six bucks in pawn.
  • Unfortunately, his guitar is in pawn down at the local hock shop because he can't pay his bills on time.
  • She can't afford to pay off the money all at once and must leave her things in pawn.

Phrasal verbs

pawn someone/thing off

Pass off someone or something unwanted: newly industrialized economies are racing to pawn off old processes on poorer countries
More example sentences
  • Both boys are pawned off on grandmothers, who will die early and represent the only selfless love either child will know.
  • The federal government pawned this responsibility off to the municipalities.
  • I think you need to think about this the next time you decide to support someone who clearly has taken someone else's solution and tried to pawn it off as her own.

Definition of pawn in:

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Word of the day dinkum
Pronunciation: ˈdɪŋkəm
(of an article or person) genuine, honest, true