Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Of or relating to dispossessed, often displaced people who have been cut off from the socioeconomic class with which they would ordinarily be identified: lumpen intellectuals unable to find work in their fields.
  • adj. Of or relating to the lumpenproletariat.
  • adj. Vulgar or common; plebeian: "Popular novelists and their mass readership remain a despised lumpen minority” ( Leslie Fiedler).
  • n. The lumpenproletariat.
  • n. A member of the lumpenproletariat.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Of or referring to social outcasts.
  • adj. Of or relating to the lumpenproletariat.
  • adj. Plebeian

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. mentally sluggish.
  • n. same as lumpenproletariat.
  • n. The European eelpout; -- called also lumper.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Past participle of limp.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. mentally sluggish

Etymologies

From German Lumpenproletariat, the lowest section of the proletariat; see lumpenproletariat.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • Our social welfare R50 Billion budget per annum should address the basic needs of people and it should seek to address the problem of poverty, stemming from children, pensioners, people with HIV - AIDS, people with disabilities and the highly unemployable, what we term the lumpen proletariat.

    SPEECH BY OUPA MONARENG THE ROLE OF PARLIAMENT IN EXECUTING THE PEOPLES CONTRACT - STATE OF THE NATION DEBATE

  • If Britain is broken, it's broken at the edges, the areas inhabited by what the left used to call the lumpen proletariat.

    On Thursday, the Legg report will be published along with...

  • Writing at some length at Labour Home about the complexity of the supposed "swing" to the Tories and the need to do the business for fairness I am a little surprised for this to be described as a lumpen core vote strategy and linked with some worthy Wiseman wishes and thepowerlesslowpaid's slogans by one Stephen Farrington of Cardiff.

    Archive 2008-05-04

  • Such a lumpen could be the administrator of an establishment where, if the regulations say that a bottle of rum should contain 30 shots -- this is just an example, just to give an example; it is always good to accompany a thought with an example

    6TH NATL ANAP CONGRESS

  • The causes are something a historian can study and document: the colonial period where long-standing social orders were overturned to serve colonial interests, and not-so-deep-seated animosities between the two main ethnic groups were exacerbated; the hatred of Tutsis that Hutu regimes inculcated even deeper into peasants for years so that most of these poor people at one point actually began to believe Tutsis were devil-like beings with tails and that killing them was their duty; teaming masses of impoverished urban Hutus (of the kind a Marxist would call the lumpen proletariat) murdering their Tutsi neighbors so they would cart off their property and rape their women (just like peasants murdering their neighbor to take his piece of land), and so endlessly on.

    AllAfrica News: Latest

  • Others are the kind of lumpen proletariat that autocracies scoop up in a last-ditch effort to survive: convicted violent criminals, poorly educated young unemployed men, and no small number of sadists, sycophants, and psychopaths.

    Larry Diamond: Mubarak Must Go

  • Well, the '' lumpen '' chattering classes at the Spectator, the rest of the media and the london establishment, seems to.

    John Terry’s sacking as England captain tells us something interesting...

  • The angle of this particular photo makes the dress look better than it is -- the side bow makes it look kind of lumpen and misshapen from the front.

    Una LaMarche: Project Runway Episode 4 Recap: The Kitty Cat Inside You

  • Would you apply these derogatory terms to Brown or Cameron or describe the membership of the Labour Party or Conservative Party as "lumpen"?

    John Terry’s sacking as England captain tells us something interesting...

  • The chronicle of courageous battles against a vicious state machinery followed by self-sacrifice by thousands of guerrillas, and patient efforts by dedicated cadres to initiate land reforms and social changes in their areas of control, has often been marred by "lumpen" acts like extortions from petty traders and contractors, and ruthless killing of innocent people suspected of being police informers.

    Archive 2006-08-01

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • unit of resistance to getting out of bed in the morning:
    gravity x inertia x apathy

    February 23, 2008

  • I think I've only ever heard this word as part of the phrase "the lumpen proletariat", which always amused me for some reason.

    September 2, 2007