• synonyms


[pli-bee-uh n]
See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
  1. belonging or pertaining to the common people.
  2. of, relating to, or belonging to the ancient Roman plebs.
  3. common, commonplace, or vulgar: a plebeian joke.
  1. a member of the common people.
  2. 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 formsple·be·ian·ism, nounple·be·ian·ly, adverbple·be·ian·ness, nounun·ple·be·ian, adjective


See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
3. lowbrow, low, ordinary, popular.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for plebeianism

Historical Examples

  • What can be more admirable than this ‘de bon air’ plebeianism, and universal right-hand of fellowship?

    Knickerbocker, or New-York Monthly Magazine, March 1844


British Dictionary definitions for plebeianism


  1. of, relating to, or characteristic of the common people, esp those of Rome
  2. lacking refinement; vulgarplebeian tastes
  1. one of the common people, esp one of the Roman plebs
  2. a person who is coarse or lacking in discernment
Derived Formsplebeianism, 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

Word Origin and History for plebeianism



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