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[proh-li-tair-ee-uh n] /ˌproʊ lɪˈtɛər i ən/
pertaining or belonging to the proletariat.
(in ancient Rome) belonging to the lowest or poorest class of the people.
a member of the proletariat.
Origin of proletarian
First recorded in 1650-60; See origin at proletary, -an
Related forms
proletarianly, adverb
proletarianness, noun
half-proletarian, adjective
nonproletarian, adjective, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for proletarian
Contemporary Examples
  • Am I going to get a "knock on the door" asking me to explain how Fidel's proletarian paradise knew so much about the Poll Tax?

Historical Examples
  • These are the only ones to whom the term "proletarian" could with any propriety be applied.


    William Graham Sumner
  • He mows down a proletarian and a Marshall Field with the same scythe.

  • The proletarian beat the table like a drum in praise of Paris.

  • A strike is the only way of impressing the proletarian psychology.

    Ghetto Comedies

    Israel Zangwill
  • You cannot possibly comprehend the proletarian civilization of the future.

    The Quest Frederik van Eeden
  • They do not see the proletarian papers and would be repelled by them if they did.

    Six Major Prophets Edwin Emery Slosson
  • The proletarian Socialists do not believe what they say, and therefore they are so violent in saying it.

    Demos George Gissing
  • "proletarian rabble, the," pre-convention conference of , 137-139.

    The I.W.W. Paul Frederick Brissenden
  • His chosen field in society is the portrayal of the middle-class and proletarian.

    Unicorns James Huneker
British Dictionary definitions for proletarian


of, relating, or belonging to the proletariat
noun (pl) -tarians, -taries
a member of the proletariat
Derived Forms
proletarianism, noun
proletarianness, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Latin prōlētārius one whose only contribution to the state was his offspring, from prōlēs offspring
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
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Word Origin and History for proletarian

1650s (n.) "member of the lowest class;" 1660s (adj.) "of the lowest class of people;" with -ian + Latin proletarius "citizen of the lowest class" (as an adjective, "relating to offspring"), in ancient Rome, propertyless people, exempted from taxes and military service, who served the state only by having children; from proles "offspring, progeny" (see prolific).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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