[ proh-li-tair-ee-uhn ]
/ ˌproʊ lɪˈtɛər i ən /
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See synonyms for: proletarian / proletarians on Thesaurus.com


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


a member of the proletariat.



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“Was” is used for the indicative past tense of “to be,” and “were” is only used for the subjunctive past tense.

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Origin of proletarian

First recorded in 1650–60; see origin at proletary, -an

OTHER WORDS FROM proletarian

pro·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. 2021

Example sentences 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 forms of proletarian

proletarianism, 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