Definitions

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

  • adj. Of, relating to, or characteristic of the proletariat.
  • n. A member of the proletariat; a worker.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Of or relating to the proletariat.
  • n. A member of the proletariat

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Of or pertaining to the proletaries; belonging to the commonalty; hence, mean; vile; vulgar.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Of or belonging to the lower classes; hence, mean; vile; vulgar.
  • n. A member of the poorest class of a community; one who is without capital or regular employment.
  • n. Also proletaire.

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

  • n. a member of the working class (not necessarily employed)
  • adj. belonging to or characteristic of the proletariat

Etymologies

From Latin prōlētārius, belonging to the lowest class of Roman citizens (viewed as contributing to the state only through having children), from prōlēs, offspring; see al-2 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin proletarius ("a man whose only wealth is his offspring, or whose sole service to the state is as father"), from proles ("offspring, posterity") (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Broken capitalist moose antler debt which cannot be repaid is, indeed a concrete destruction of alienated workers brain-value; but the write-downs that it causes are the sound basis of the next predictable upswing in proletarian dictatorship.

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  • His class in proletarian fiction was wildly oversubscribed.

    Horseman

  • At the end, in the epilogue, this simple-hearted visionary proletarian is acquitted, while

    A Single, Homeless, Circling Satellite: Derek Walcott, 1992 Nobel Literature Laureate

  • The Soviet Union was the first country to implement the idea of proletarian dictatorship.

    Confronting Soviet and Nazi History

  • That the so-called proletarian movements were in the pay of “big capital” was a phenomenon that has been commented on by sundry historians from conservative Oswald Spengler to liberal Carroll Quigley.

    Why Karl Marx Supported Libertarianism

  • Forbes estimated this so-called proletarian as controlling a fortune of $900 million -- a figure which Castro vehemently denied.

    Castro Health Scare Brings First Power Shift Since 1959

  • There is not the smallest sign that any of these things is in a way to being established anywhere, and the one great country in which something described as a proletarian revolution once happened, i.e. the U.S.S.R., has moved steadily away from the old concept of a free and equal society aiming at universal human brotherhood.

    James Burnham and the Managerial Revolution

  • In respect of culture and of economic, physical, and physiological conditions, the proletarian is the weakest element of our society.

    Political Parties; a Sociological Study of the Oligarchical Tendencies of Modern Democracy

  • There is not the smallest sign that any of these things is in a way to being established anywhere, and the one great country in which something described as a proletarian revolution once happened, i.e. the USSR, has moved steadily away from the old concept of a free and equal society aiming at universal human brotherhood.

    Collected Essays

  • To show how the materialistic conception of history arises precisely in given conditions, not as a personal and tentative opinion of two writers, but as the new conquest of thought by the inevitable suggestion of a new world which is in process of birth, that is to say the proletarian revolution, that was the object of my first essay, "In Memory of the Communist Manifesto."

    Essays on the Materialistic Conception of History

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