Etymology
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peon (n.)

in Spanish America, "unskilled worker," formerly in Mexico especially "a type of serf held in servitude by his creditor until his debts are worked off,"  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."

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Definitions of peon

peon (n.)
a laborer who is obliged to do menial work;
Synonyms: drudge / navvy / galley slave
From wordnet.princeton.edu