• synonyms


[proh-li-tair-ee-uh n]
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  1. pertaining or belonging to the proletariat.
  2. (in ancient Rome) belonging to the lowest or poorest class of the people.
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  1. a member of the proletariat.
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Origin of proletarian

First recorded in 1650–60; see origin at proletary, -an
Related formspro·le·tar·i·an·ly, adverbpro·le·tar·i·an·ness, nounhalf-pro·le·tar·i·an, adjectivenon·pro·le·tar·i·an, adjective, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for proletarian


less commonly proletary (ˈprəʊlɪtərɪ, -trɪ)

  1. of, relating, or belonging to the proletariat
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noun plural -tarians or -taries
  1. a member of the proletariat
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Derived Formsproletarianism, nounproletarianness, noun

Word Origin

C17: from Latin prōlētārius one whose only contribution to the state was his offspring, from prōlēs offspring
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 proletarian

1650s (n.) "member of the lowest class;" 1660s (adj.) "of the lowest class of people;" with -ian + Latin proletarius "citizen of the lowest class" (as an adjective, "relating to offspring"), in ancient Rome, propertyless people, exempted from taxes and military service, who served the state only by having children; from proles "offspring, progeny" (see prolific).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper