1 of 2


: 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


2 of 2


plural lumpen also lumpens
: 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
Rhys spent decades, often isolated and paranoid, in lumpen houses and apartments in and out of London, before success arrived late. New York Times, 20 June 2022 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 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'lumpen.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



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

First Known Use


1936, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1941, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of lumpen was in 1936

Dictionary Entries Near lumpen

Cite this Entry

“Lumpen.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

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