Overview

pawn


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A chess piece of the smallest size and value, that moves one square forwards along its file if unobstructed (or two on the first move), or one square diagonally forwards when making a capture. Each player begins with eight pawns on the second rank, and can promote a pawn to become any other piece (typically a queen) if it reaches the opponent's end of the board. In figurative use, a pawn is a person used by others for their own purposes.

Recorded from late Middle English, the word comes via Anglo-Norman French from medieval Latin pedo ‘foot-soldier’, from Latin pes, ped- ‘foot’.


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