Definitions

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

  • n. A commoner.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A commoner, a plebeian, a person of low rank

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A person who is not of noble birth; specif., a freeman who during the prevalence of feudalism held allodial land.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In France, a person not of noble birth; a plebeian.
  • n. In French-Canadian law, one who holds real property subject to an annual rent or charge.

Etymologies

French, from Old French, from roture, newly cultivated land, from Latin ruptūra, action of breaking; see rupture.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
French From the low Latin "ruptarius": he who breaks the earth (Larousse Encyclopedia of XXe century, Paris, 1932.) (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • People shrugged their shoulders, and hinted that there was something of the "roturier" in Mr. Dunbar; but they freely acknowledged that he was a fine handsome-looking fellow, and that his daughter was an angel, rendered still more angelic by the earthly advantage of half a million or so for her marriage-portion.

    Henry Dunbar A Novel

  • I think at your age, with your appearance, that your name is worth at least two million francs in the eyes of a rich 'roturier' with an ambitious daughter. "

    The Parisians — Volume 01

  • This fact shows our British independence and honest feeling — our higher orders are not such mere haughty aristocrats as the ignorant represent them: on the contrary, if a man have money they will hold out their hands to him, eat his dinners, dance at his balls, marry his daughters, or give their own lovely girls to his sons, as affably as your commonest roturier would do.

    The History of Pendennis

  • The whiskers of a roturier, my good Lankin, grow as long as the beard of a Plantagenet.

    The Kickleburys on the Rhine

  • These families, without ever losing sight of their nonnoble roturier background, were in the process of acquiring the attributes and manner of life of the nobility.

    Savoring The Past

  • The provinces were full of roturier families, who for ages had lived as people of property upon their own domains, and paid the taxes.

    Court Memoirs of France Series — Complete

  • So the Canadian peasant, a feudal tenant _en censive_ or _en roture_, yet wished not to be called _censitaire_ or _roturier_, names which he thought degrading; he preferred to be called a habitant, an inhabitant of the country, a free man, not a vassal.

    A Canadian Manor and Its Seigneurs The Story of a Hundred Years, 1761-1861

  • For, if he described another Englishman as not being a nobleman, invariably the foreigner would presume it to be meant that he was not a gentleman -- not of the privileged class -- in fact, that he was a plebeian or _roturier_, though very possibly a man every way meritorious by talents or public services.

    Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine — Volume 54, No. 333, July 1843

  • The age of the _roturier_ had been the climacteric of France.

    Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine — Volume 54, No. 333, July 1843

  • Republicans of former rank were desirous of distinguishing themselves from the _roturier_, or for the purpose of making his opinions known in that country which had been always the great tribunal of European opinion, and always will be; he made _me_ sit down at his side.

    Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine - Volume 55, No. 343, May 1844

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  • A self-made man; commoner who made good. --According to NPR's Says You

    January 3, 2010