PAWN, (i) A pledge, an object left in the charge of another, as security for the repayment of money lent, for a debt or for the performance of some obligation (see Pawnbroking). The word is an adaptation of O. Fr. pan, pledge, plunder, spoil. This has usually been identified with pan, from Lat. pannus, piece of cloth. The Teutonic words for pledge - such as Du. pand, Ger. Pfand have been also traced to the same source; on the other hand these Teutonic forms have been connected with the word which appears in O. Eng. as pending, a penny Ger. Pfennig, but this too has been referred to panntis. (2) The smallest piece on the chessboard. This, in its early forms, poun, pawn, etc., is taken from Fr. poon or paon, variants of peon, Med. Lat. pcdo, pedonis, a foot soldier, from pes, foot.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)