[ proh-li-tair-ee-uh n ]
/ ˌproʊ lɪˈtɛər i ən /


pertaining or belonging to the proletariat.
(in ancient Rome) belonging to the lowest or poorest class of the people.


a member of the proletariat.

Nearby words

  1. prolegomenon,
  2. prolegomenous,
  3. prolepsis,
  4. proleptic,
  5. proles,
  6. proletarianism,
  7. proletarianize,
  8. proletariat,
  9. proletarize,
  10. proletary

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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for proletarian

British Dictionary definitions for proletarian


less commonly proletary (ˈprəʊlɪtərɪ, -trɪ)

/ (ˌprəʊlɪˈtɛərɪən) /


of, relating, or belonging to the proletariat

noun plural -tarians or -taries

a member of the proletariat
Derived Formsproletarianism, nounproletarianness, noun

Word Origin for proletarian

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).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper