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PIGNUS, civil law. This word signifies in English, pledge or pawn. (q.v.) It is derived, says Gaius, from pugnium, the fist, because what is delivered in pledge is delivered. in hand. Dig. 50, 16, 238, 2. This is one of several instances of the failure of the Roman jurists, when they attempted etymological explanation of words. The elements of pignus (pig) is contained in the word p---[?], and its cognate forms. Smith's Dict. Gr. and Rom. Antiq. h.v.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
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The word pawn is derived from the Latin pignus, for pledge.
1963) 459-62 (discussing mutuum), 464-67 (discussing depositum), 467-70 (discussing commodatum), 470-78 (discussing pignus, or pledge), 494-504 (discussing locatio, or lease), and 512-18 (discussing mandatum).
La gracia y las virtudes, que el Catecismo con San Pablo llama pignus Spiritus Sancti, prenda del Espiritu Santo, constituyen asi al hombre en la nueva criatura (92).
Unlike the Germans, the Romans had liberalized their secured transactions law considerably and allowed for non-possessory security interests in the form of a hypotheca (as opposed to a possessory pledge, known as a pignus).
Their intimacy seems to be longstanding and powerful: vetustissimam consuetudinem [...] in sanguinis pignus (80,6).
Fue ese ano cuando entablo una estrecha relacion con Juan Velasquez, desde cuya casa incremento su actividad epistolar y se dispuso a atar todos los cabos para confeccionar una seleccion definitiva de sus cartas que sirviera como pignus amoris hacia sus allegados".
This formulation was challenged by Gotz Landwehr, who demonstrated that, unlike the Roman pignus, the pledge was a discharge transaction: the conveyance of the pledge object itself, not its redemption, was payment for the debt.(24) By handing over a pledge to the creditor, the debtor was freed from his original liabilities towards the creditor; in return, the creditor forfeited his right to sue the debtor on a plea of debt for recovery of the amount due to him.
The new-comers would be limited to transactions secured ad pignus (by the pledge of a tangible object) and forbidden to lend ad scripta (against a written note).