• synonyms


[luhm-puh n-proh-li-tair-ee-uh t]
noun (sometimes initial capital letter) (esp. in Marxist theory)
  1. the lowest level of the proletariat comprising unskilled workers, vagrants, and criminals and characterized by a lack of class identification and solidarity.
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Origin of lumpenproletariat

1920–25; < German (Marx, 1850), equivalent to Lumpen rag or Lumpen-, combining form of Lump ragamuffin + Proletariat proletariat
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for lumpenproletariat


  1. (esp in Marxist theory) the amorphous urban social group below the proletariat, consisting of criminals, tramps, etc
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Word Origin for lumpenproletariat

German, literally: ragged proletariat
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 lumpenproletariat


1897, from German Lumpenproletariat (1850), from Karl Marx, who coined it to mean "rabble, poorest of the working class," from German lump "ragamuffin" + proletariat. Secondary sense of "boorish, stupid people" led to lumpen- being taken as a suffix meaning "unenlightened."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper