lum·​pen | \ ˈlu̇m-pən How to pronounce lumpen (audio) , ˈləm- How to pronounce lumpen (audio) \

Definition of lumpen

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of or relating to dispossessed and uprooted individuals cut off from the economic and social class with which they might normally be identified lumpen proletariat lumpen intellectuals


plural lumpen also lumpens

Definition of lumpen (Entry 2 of 2)

: a member of the crude and uneducated lowest class of society

Examples of lumpen in a Sentence

Adjective a kind of music that has traditionally appealed to the lumpen segment of the musical audience
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Then the judges booted her for wearing a lumpen quilt skirt accessorized with a blow-up-doll boyfriend. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, 20 Apr. 2022 Tye Sheridan gives a somewhat lumpen performance as the author’s stand-in, an aspiring writer whose family background is funky, to say the least. Globe Staff,, 6 Jan. 2022 The films of Sean Baker celebrate lumpen characters and communities that subsist within the cracks of America’s neoliberal landscape. Erik Morse, Vogue, 10 Dec. 2021 Indeed, the miniatures — lumpen clay armchairs and occasional tables that Valle arranges and rearranges inside shoebox versions of their ultimate destinations — are closer to dollhouse furniture than to showpiece renderings. New York Times, 9 Sep. 2021 Some collectors are leaning further into technology by amassing digital artworks, while other sets of buyers are coping by prizing ceramics, with their fragile, lumpen tactility. Kelly Crow, WSJ, 6 July 2021 Other labels are riffing on the shoe’s lumpen shape, and playing with proportion and puff. Lauren Mechling, Vogue, 30 Mar. 2021 It’s made of diabase traprock, which contains iron that causes the cliffs to look lumpen and rusty in the wrong light, precise and resplendent in the right one. Christian Wiman, Harper's magazine, 20 Jan. 2020 In lieu of feet, the piece has a tail, an assemblage of lumpen clay, perhaps an allusion to the demonization of the destitute and the displaced. Andrea K. Scott, The New Yorker, 18 May 2018 See More

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

First Known Use of lumpen


1936, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1941, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for lumpen


German Lumpenproletariat degraded section of the proletariat, from Lump contemptible person (from Lumpen rags) + Proletariat

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Last Updated

3 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Lumpen.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 2022.

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