low·​er-class | \ˌlō-ər-ˈklas \

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

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 The district is in the midst of a strategic planning process, and the school board recently voted to lower class sizes, something that will impact how much space is available at other buildings. Emily K. Coleman, Lake County News-Sun, "Some Lake County preschool programs to grow with new state dollars," 4 July 2018 Outside San Francisco’s 49 square miles of unreality, economies like those of Europe have a social safety net to dampen the hardships for the lower classes. Antonio García Martínez, WIRED, "How Silicon Valley Fuels an Informal Caste System," 9 July 2018 Middle-class evangelicals, hoping to curb drinking and exert power over the lower class, drove the Maine effort. Anna Diamond, Smithsonian, "Do Marine Mammals Yawn and More Questions From Our Readers," 28 June 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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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

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a nest or breeding place

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