Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[pli-bee-uh n] /plɪˈbi ən/
belonging or pertaining to the common people.
of, relating to, or belonging to the ancient Roman plebs.
common, commonplace, or vulgar:
a plebeian joke.
a member of the common people.
a member of the ancient Roman plebs.
Origin of plebeian
1525-35; < Latin plēbēi(us) of the plebs (plēbē(s) plebs + -ius adj. suffix) + -an
Related forms
plebeianism, noun
plebeianly, adverb
plebeianness, noun
unplebeian, adjective
3. lowbrow, low, ordinary, popular. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for plebeian
Historical Examples
  • He's a plebeian from his thick shoe soles to his thin hair; but he's honest.

    The Bacillus of Beauty Harriet Stark
  • Well; there is nothing like being a plebeian and a Prime Minister!

    Vivian Grey Earl of Beaconsfield, Benjamin Disraeli
  • Just this: you'll have to fight; and if you were a 'Gemeiner'—a plebeian—you'd get off.

    A Day's Ride Charles James Lever
  • I believe he was shocked by my plebeian abruptness but he was too polite to show it.

    The Arrow of Gold Joseph Conrad
  • He was a German plebeian, with no chance ever to improve his condition.

  • If he had not the air of a thoroughbred, he had none of the plebeian clumsiness of the cart-horse.

    Paul Patoff

    F. Marion Crawford
  • "Patrician and plebeian must stand or fall together, my Marcia," he said quietly.

    The Lion's Brood

    Duffield Osborne
  • The plebeian order was composed of the lowest class of freemen.

  • She was fresh and pretty-looking, but of plebeian figure and countenance.

    The Mermaid

    Lily Dougall
  • Her plebeian, insolent little round face so kindly in repose.

    Man and Maid Elinor Glyn
British Dictionary definitions for plebeian


of, relating to, or characteristic of the common people, esp those of Rome
lacking refinement; vulgar: plebeian tastes
one of the common people, esp one of the Roman plebs
a person who is coarse or lacking in discernment
Derived Forms
plebeianism, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin plēbēius belonging to the people, from plēbs the common people of ancient Rome
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for plebeian

also plebian, "of or characteristic of the lower class," 1560s in a Roman historical sense, from Latin plebeius "belonging to the plebs," earlier plebes, "the populace, the common people" (as opposed to patricians, etc.), also "commonality; the mass, the multitude; the lower class," from PIE *ple- (see pleio-). In general (non-historical) use from 1580s.


"member of the lowest class," 1530s, from Latin plebius "person not of noble rank," from adjective meaning "of the common people" (see plebeian (adj.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for plebeian

Word Value for plebeian

Scrabble Words With Friends