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noun (used with a plural verb)
  1. (in ancient Rome) the common people, as contrasted with the patricians and later with the senatorial nobility or the equestrian order.
  2. the common people; the populace.

Origin of plebs

First recorded in 1640–50, plebs is from the Latin word plēbs, plēbēs


  1. a member of the plebs; a plebeian or commoner.
  2. plebe(def 1).

Origin of pleb

1850–55, Americanism; short for plebeian Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for plebs

Contemporary Examples of plebs

Historical Examples of plebs

British Dictionary definitions for plebs


  1. (functioning as plural) the common people; the masses
  2. (functioning as singular or plural) common people of ancient RomeCompare patrician

Word Origin for plebs

C17: from Latin: the common people of ancient Rome


  1. short for plebeian
  2. British informal, often derogatory a common vulgar person
See also plebs
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 plebs



1856 as a colloquial shortening of plebeian in the ancient Roman sense. West Point sense attested by 1851 (see plebe).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper