Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A first-year student at the US Military Academy or the US Naval Academy.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun 1. The common people; the populace; plebs; plebeians.
  • noun A member of the lowest class in the United States naval and military academies; a freshman.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun obsolete The common people; the mob.
  • noun Cant, U.S. A member of the lowest class in the military academy at West Point; also, a freshman at any military or naval academy.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun US a first year student at a US military academy; a cadet
  • noun common person

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

  • noun a military trainee (as at a military academy)

Etymologies

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

[Probably short for plebeian.]

Examples

  • Well, this plebe was a fresh faced young man from Texas.

    Texas sheet cake for a birthday | Homesick Texan

  • For his entire freshman and sophomore year, called plebe and yearling years on campus, Campbell was allowed no civilian clothes on campus.

    FanHouse

  • For his entire freshman and sophomore year, called plebe and yearling years on campus, Campbell was allowed no civilian clothes on campus.

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  • For his entire freshman and sophomore year, called plebe and yearling years on campus, Campbell was allowed no civilian clothes on campus.

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  • "plebe" -- encampment, Loring actually kicked the offender out of his tent.

    A Wounded Name

  • At least three times, these young men and women have sworn to serve their fellow citizens in the military — taking oaths at the beginning of their freshman (or "plebe") year, at the start of their third (or "cow") year and, on May 23, as they were commissioned lieutenants in the United States Army.

    Worried They Will Miss the War

  • He had mastered one important bit of knowledge: That a "plebe" does well to lie low, and as the result of mastering that salient fact he was well liked by the upper-classmen and found them ready to do him a good many friendly turns which a more "raty" fourth-classman would not have found coming his way.

    Peggy Stewart: Navy Girl at Home

  • Because, under the new system, with candidates admitted in March, there is still a "plebe" class above them who remain plebes until commencement in June.

    Dick Prescott's First Year at West Point

  • Twenty-five summers, counting this one coming, had rolled over his curly head, and each one had seemed brighter, happier than the last, all but the one he spent as a hard-worked "plebe" at the military academy.

    Warrior Gap A Story of the Sioux Outbreak of '68.

  • Chester looked up with a quizzical smile as his "plebe" came in:

    From the Ranks

Comments

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  • He was on the staff of two Ohio governors in the eighteen-nineties; he was secretary to a Columbus mayor, who gave him an enormous brass key to the city, which I envied; around the turn of the century he went to West Point with a Congressional committee that was investigating the death of a plebe whose hazing had consisted of drinking the entire contents of a bottle of tabasco sauce.

    —James Thurber, 1952, 'Gentleman from Indiana', in The Thurber Album

    July 14, 2008