• synonyms


  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.
Show More
  1. a member of the common people.
  2. a member of the ancient Roman plebs.
Show More

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


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
Show More
  1. one of the common people, esp one of the Roman plebs
  2. a person who is coarse or lacking in discernment
Show More
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.

Show More



"member of the lowest class," 1530s, from Latin plebius "person not of noble rank," from adjective meaning "of the common people" (see plebeian (adj.)).

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper