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

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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 Other labels are riffing on the shoe’s lumpen shape, and playing with proportion and puff. Lauren Mechling, Vogue, "According to an Authority, These Are the Best Clogs to Shop Now," 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, "The Cancer Chair," 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, "Huma Bhabha’s Postapocalyptic Tableau," 18 May 2018 But there are far more ordinary, lumpen Russians driving Ubers and working as nannies — or going to universities or writing software — than there are billionaire oligarchs who own English soccer teams. Karla Adam, Washington Post, "From posh oligarchs to taxis drivers, Russians in London feel a chill," 20 Apr. 2018 With fewer migrant workers, firms might be forced to train lumpen locals and invest more in technology, thus improving Britain’s poor productivity. The Economist, "How will British firms replace departing European workers?," 13 Jan. 2018 Moreover, the deep meaning of the generational divide in Christian America is that the electorate, mercifully, is more dynamic than the lumpen logic of tribal politics suggests. The Economist, "The evangelical divide," 12 Oct. 2017 In it, Nixon looks older, smaller, a bit lumpen, less socialized. Rachel Syme, The New Yorker, "Cynthia Nixon’s “Emily Thing”," 15 Apr. 2017

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.

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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

9 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Lumpen.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 May. 2021.

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