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

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of lower-class in a Sentence


a member of the lower class

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 Among those assigned to the lower class were teens who had known hunger in their own lives. San Francisco Chronicle, "A Retreat’s Risky Lessons," 14 June 2018 When the Nationals somewhat reluctantly promoted Soto for his May 20 debut, GM Mike Rizzo spoke in glowing terms about Soto’s plate discipline, and how that could ease his transition in leaping from low Class A to Nationals Park in six weeks. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, "Why Nationals teen-phenom Juan Soto may be here to stay," 14 June 2018 McKay zipped through Bowling Green, a lower Class A affiliate, holding batters to an .096 average in six starts. Tyler Kepner, New York Times, "The Rays Are Building Their Own Shohei Ohtani From the Ground Up," 11 June 2018 As is usually the case in low Class A, Lalli had to deal with his share of turnover. Paul Johnson, Elgin Courier-News, "That winning feeling: Cougars wrap up first half above .500, aim higher in second half," 24 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.

See More

First Known Use of lower-class


1812, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1637, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about lower-class

Share lower-class

Statistics for lower-class

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for lower-class

The first known use of lower-class was in 1637

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on lower-class

See 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).


required by fashion, etiquette, or custom

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!