[ pli-bee-uhn ]
/ 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

ple·be·ian·ism, nounple·be·ian·ly, adverbple·be·ian·ness, nounun·ple·be·ian, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for plebeian

British Dictionary definitions for plebeian


/ (pləˈbiːən) /


of, relating to, or characteristic of the common people, esp those of Rome
lacking refinement; vulgarplebeian 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 for plebeian

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