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

  • n. The common people of ancient Rome: the plebs and the patricians.
  • n. The common people; the populace.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Plural form of pleb.
  • n. The common people, as a whole, or as a group.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The commonalty of ancient Rome who were citizens without the usual political rights; the plebeians; -- distinguished from the patricians.
  • n. Hence, the common people; the populace; -- construed as a pl.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The lower order of citizens in ancient Rome; the plebeians; hence, in general, the populace.


Latin plēbs; see pelə-1 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)


  • [263] The distinction between the Roman people and the tribes, is also observed by Tacitus, who substitutes the word plebs, meaning, the lowest class of the populace.

    The Lives of the Twelve Caesars, Volume 02: Augustus

  • The opinions of those plebs is deeply suspect, such that their hype must be validated by those in the upper tier, those who know How Writing Is Done.

    Archive 2007-02-01

  • Padda, Burghelm, and Oiddi (it is pleasant to preserve these little personal touches) -- proceeded to baptize the 'plebs' -- that is to say, the servile Anglicised Celt-Euskarian substratum -- up and down the country villages.

    Science in Arcady

  • Porta del Popolo; and the Bustum, where the bodies of the emperor and his family were burnt, is supposed to have stood on the site of the church of the Madonna of that name.] [Footnote 263: The distinction between the Roman people and the tribes, is also observed by Tacitus, who substitutes the word plebs, meaning, the lowest class of the populace.] [Footnote 264: Those of his father Octavius, and his father by adoption,

    De vita Caesarum

  • They went through last week at the expense of the much more talented Maria, and the plebs are angry.

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  • She had a very quick mind for anything political or financial—had she not been born a woman, and given her spirit, there is no telling what she might have done—and the moment she grasped it she was horrified, for Terentia was an aristocrat to her core, and to her the notion of privatizing state land and giving it to the plebs was a step on the road to the destruction of Rome.


  • Many in Rome wanted to see the restoration, most people because the tribunate of the plebs was a hallowed institution in proper harmony with the mos maiorum, and not a few people because they missed the vigor and buzz of the old days in the lower Forum Romanum when some militant demagogue fired up the Plebs until fists swung and hired ex-gladiators waded into the fray.

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  • The tribune of the plebs was a clever man and not a bad speaker; he had now got amongst his opponents a man of insolent temper and hot tongue, whom he could irritate and provoke into saying things which would bring odium not only upon himself, but upon his cause and upon the whole of his order.

    The History of Rome, Vol. I

  • Binder, in his work _Die Plebs_, starts from the improbable hypothesis that the plebs was the population of the Latin part of the city as distinct from that

    The Religious Experience of the Roman People From the Earliest Times to the Age of Augustus

  • But Spurius Maelius, to whom the tribuneship of the plebs was a thing to be wished for rather than hoped for, a wealthy corn-factor, hoped to buy the liberty of his fellow-citizens for a couple of pounds of spelt, and imagined that by throwing a little corn to them he could reduce to slavery the men who had conquered all the neighbouring States, and that he whom the State could hardly stomach as a senator would be tolerated as a king, possessing the power and insignia of Romulus, who had sprung from the gods and been carried back to the gods!

    The History of Rome, Vol. I


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