low·​er-class | \ ˌlō-ər-ˈklas How to pronounce lower-class (audio) \

Definition of lower-class

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, or characteristic of the lower class
2 : being an inferior or low-ranking specimen of its kind a lower-class theater

lower class


Definition of lower class (Entry 2 of 2)

: a social class occupying a position below the middle class and having the lowest status in a society

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Examples of lower-class in a Sentence


a member of the lower class

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Religious superstition and a malleable view of Christianity (which mostly just enabled a continuing terror of any outsiders) reigned, despite the fact that the lower classes of priests were also illiterate, and therefore could not read the Bible. Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "Notre Dame Is a Cruel Metaphor for Our World Right Now," 25 Apr. 2019 From the San Fernando Valley in the northeast to beach communities in the west, teachers marched in front of schools in the rain, wearing red T-shirts or ponchos and chanting for more funds and lower class sizes. Ian Lovett, WSJ, "Los Angeles Teachers Begin Strike," 14 Jan. 2019 Sheltered from the Privilege Violence affecting the lower class, the middle class may prefer a strongman to a statesman. Ann Toews, WSJ, "‘A Savage Order’ Review: When a State Fuels Bloodshed," 11 Dec. 2018 The 9-hour trip to China’s capital, at HK$1,237 ($158.40) in the lowest class, is about the same cost as a low-cost flight. Natasha Khan, WSJ, "Bullet Train Extends Beijing’s Reach Into Hong Kong," 23 Sep. 2018 And the chart is broken down into what types of homes the participants were born into (lower class, middle class, or upper class). Brian Resnick, Vox, "How scientists are trying to predict your future with your genes," 23 Aug. 2018 The show harkens back to the ‘70s and ‘80s, thanks to its cyberpunk aesthetic and themes that touch on a lot of the struggles of lower classes. Michael Moore, The Verge, "Best anime of 2018," 13 July 2018 Because only farmers had farmer's tans, and outdoor work in general was confined to the lower classes, upper-class women went to great lengths to keep their skin fair: the powdered visage of Marie Antoinette. Alison Rose, Town & Country, "Hot Pursuit," 16 Dec. 2012 Work in manufacturing was something for the lower classes. The Economist, "A welcome upgrade to apprenticeships," 12 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'lower-class.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of lower-class


1812, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1637, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for lower-class

The first known use of lower-class was in 1637

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More Definitions for lower-class



English Language Learners Definition of lower-class

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: not fancy, wealthy, or expensive

lower class


English Language Learners Definition of lower class (Entry 2 of 2)

: a social class that is below the middle class and that has the lowest status in a society

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More from Merriam-Webster on lower-class

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with lower-class

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for lower-class

Spanish Central: Translation of lower-class

Comments on lower-class

What made you want to look up lower-class? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


highly pertinent or appropriate

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