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It comes from the word owned misspelled. This is because the 'p' key is located next to the 'o' key on the key board. It refers to the act of defeating somebody or beating someone in a way.
You just got pwned b/c i destroyed your entire army!
by joeyisgay October 04, 2006
A corruption of the word "Owned." This originated in an online game called Warcraft, where a map designer misspelled "owned." When the computer beat a player, it was supposed to say, so-and-so "has been owned."

Instead, it said, so-and-so "has been pwned."

It basically means "to own" or to be dominated by an opponent or situation, especially by some god-like or computer-like force.
"Man, I rock at my job, but I still got a bad evaluation. I was pwned."


"That team totally pwned us."
by Daniel Rivera April 11, 2003
Unlike the other people who have posted definitions that are ridiculous, do not have substantial backing, or are simply mis-informed, I will give the complete definition of what "pwned" means.

1. The origins of "pwned" are debated but there are two possible sources:
a. A prominent quake player mis spelled "owned" and the new word "pwned" was adopted by people who thought it was "1337".
b. A warcraft map designer misspelled "owned" and thus people started using "pwned" instead.

The definitions are as follows:
In video games:
1. Completely annihilated or dominated.
2. Perfectly owned, meaning the other player did not do any damage.
I pwned your head with my awp.


I just pwned your ass noob!
by jack November 17, 2003
What happens to retards who keep arguing about the origin of pwned on the Internet
You guys were just pwned
by Justin March 18, 2005
This term actually comes from a game created hundreds of years ago, even before computers were invented. This game was called, 'chess'. The object of the game was to put the other player in checkmate, meaning, he was unable to move his king anywhere that he would not be threatened by another piece. Also in this game, you have 8 pieces at the front of your army called 'pawns', these were the least useful of all pieces, but that is not to mean they were worthless. If you could defeat the other player by using your pawn to apply check, that was called, and is still called pawned.

Now, back in the early 80's, before warcraft, counterstrike or even the INTERNET, there were ways you could contact other PC's by using a modem. These were called BBS's and allowed you to connect to individual computers acting as severs where games would be so that people could play other people they did not know. Now, when I used to play these games as well as many other people 22+, they used to use and coined the phrase, 'pwned'. Which was slang for pawned. It eventually was taken from just chess and used in other text based games to taunt the loser of a match. It is now commonly wide spread across the world, although the children do not understand its true meaning.

Saying it came from anywhere else is stating you're a poser for the fact you have no knowledge of gaming history and like to think you do so you make things up. Thanks.
Joe pawned/pwned Goerge along with his queen and knight.
by GetALife July 28, 2006
An intentionally mispelled term for "Owned". Originating as a result of the "P-key" being adjacent and aligned with the "O-key" on the QWERTY keybpard, it is a commpnly accepted term ampng gamers and shares the same definitipn as "Owned".
1. You just got pwned

2. To accredit the usage of "Pwned" to anything mpre particular than a commpn typo would be an unsubstantiated concept of it's origin.

3. Everyone else's definition of "Pwned" just gpt pwned
by gorytortoise August 26, 2006
a common typo of owned that is used in the same way, or more sarcasticly to mock 1337 speak. If you think pwned can be attributed to a single source you are retarded.
retard1: pwned originated with quake
retard2 no it started with warcraft
nonretard: Its a fucking typo, like 'teh'or 'pron'. I you were older than 11 you'd know typos happened even before 1337 made tham 'cool'.
otherguy:you faggots just got pwned!
by pwner February 15, 2005
I won't even mention the "origin" of pwned here. (I mean, who the fuck cares... "O" is next to "P" on a keyboard. It was going to happen eventually). Unlike silly misspellings like teh, the reason why "pwned" became popular, is because it looks and sounds good.

If you look at the phonetics of the original, owned, it has a very round, relaxed sound to it. The sharper "pwned", however, is fast and furious, like the cracking of a whip, the firing of a silenced gun, or a motherfucking laser weapon.

PEW! PEW! ... pwned.

Because of it's explosive sound, "pwned" will mainly be used where someone is defeated or humiliated in a very sudden and convincing manner. The slower, more elaborate "owned" will more oftenly describe domination over time.

"pwned" is a very good word. It's phonetic similarity to fast, impressive finishes seems well suited to videogames. Because the word sounds like what it does, it will probably stay with us for a long time.
the dorks who try to make up the origin of the word 'pwned', were pwned by this article.
by thePTS July 21, 2009