[proh-li-tair-ee-uh t]


the class of wage earners, especially those who earn their living by manual labor or who are dependent for support on daily or casual employment; the working class.
(in Marxist theory) the class of workers, especially industrial wage earners, who do not possess capital or property and must sell their labor to survive.
the lowest or poorest class of people, possessing no property, especially in ancient Rome.

Nearby words

  1. proleptic,
  2. proles,
  3. proletarian,
  4. proletarianism,
  5. proletarianize,
  6. proletarize,
  7. proletary,
  8. proleukocyte,
  9. prolicide,
  10. prolidase

Origin of proletariat

1850–55; < French prolétariat; see proletary, -ate3

Related formsnon·pro·le·tar·i·at, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for proletariat

British Dictionary definitions for proletariat



all wage-earners collectively
the lower or working class
(in Marxist theory) the class of wage-earners, esp industrial workers, in a capitalist society, whose only possession of significant material value is their labour
(in ancient Rome) the lowest class of citizens, who had no property

Word Origin for proletariat

C19: via French from Latin prōlētārius proletarian

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 proletariat



also proletariate, "the lowest class," 1853, from French prolétariat, from Latin proletarius (see proletarian). In political economics, "indigent wage-earners," from 1856. Leninist phrase dictatorship of the proletariat attested from 1918.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for proletariat



In Marxism, the industrial working class, people without property.

A term often applied to industrial workers, particularly by followers of Karl Marx (see also Marx).

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.