Also pleb. (at the U.S. Military and Naval academies) a member of the freshman class.
Obsolete. plebeian(def 4).

Origin of plebe

First recorded in 1605–15; short for plebeian Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for plebe

Contemporary Examples of plebe

  • He did well during his plebe year but not spectacularly, earning a class rank of 161st out of more than 800 classmates.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Making of General Petraeus

    David Cloud, Greg Jaffe

    June 24, 2010

Historical Examples of plebe

  • Not since his probation as a plebe, had he consorted with such a bunch of "hush-mouths."

    Next Door, Next World

    Robert Donald Locke

  • Before this change the life of the plebe on the summer cruise was not a bed of roses.

    Pike & Cutlass

    George Gibbs

  • There won't even a plebe speak to him, 'cept me an' you an' Injun.

    A Cadet's Honor

    Upton Sinclair

  • The plebe turned, exhausted though he was, and headed for it.

    A Cadet's Honor

    Upton Sinclair

  • The plebe ducked; he was quick and agile in body as he was in mind.

    A Cadet's Honor

    Upton Sinclair

British Dictionary definitions for plebe



informal a member of the lowest class at the US Naval Academy or Military Academy; freshman

Word Origin for plebe

C19: shortened from plebeian
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 plebe

also pleb, "member of the lowest class at a U.S. military academy," 1833, probably a shortened form of plebeian "one of the lower class," which in Latin also had the short form plebs or plebes.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper