\ˈplēb \

Definition of plebe 

1 : a freshman at a military or naval academy He also struggled to march in step and stumbled through … a morning ritual in which plebes are forced to stand at full attention and recite an endless stream of information …— Jonathan Mahler

2a : one of the common people : plebeian Once a proud and high-minded group, the new class could look up at the rich with a certain contempt and down at the plebes with compassion …— Barbara Ehrenreich

b : an ordinary person who lacks the knowledge of an insider These guys may look like plebes, but they're veteran hackers.— Davin Coburn The movie has its origins in Dave Stevens' 1982 graphic novel (comic book to us plebes), a knowing, exquisitely drawn valentine to aviation aces and 1930s Los Angeles.— Ty Burr

Examples of plebe in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Last week's best photos gallery SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch in California, the royal wedding in Windsor, Naval Academy plebes climb the Herndon Monument, HouleDouse band performs on slack lines in China and more images from around the world. Washington Post, "Here are 11 of the week’s best photos," 2 June 2018 In a new video for Vogue, Rihanna guides us plebes through a ten-minute tutorial of her slightly experimental makeup. Sarah Spellings, The Cut, "Watch Rihanna Contour and Show Off New Fenty Beauty Products," 3 May 2018 In 1907, the plebes swooped around the monument at the start of summer to celebrate surviving their freshmen year. Rachel Siegel, Washington Post, "Herndon Monument Climb: Why crazed Naval Academy freshmen storm a greased obelisk," 21 May 2018 The annual Herndon Climb separates plebes, or first-year students, from the rest. Marissa J. Lang, Washington Post, "‘Plebes no more’: After 2 hours 9 minutes, Naval Academy freshmen conquer greased monument," 21 May 2018 Stella in the original, Soraya here—who's married a coarse, beer-guzzling American plebe in a T-shirt because the guy makes her colored lights go 'round. Tony Adler, Chicago Reader, "Novid Parsi’s Through the Elevated Line is a slavish update of a masterpiece," 21 Mar. 2018 Their military journeys began at the United States Naval Academy, where Ms. Luria and Ms. McGrath were plebes together when Ms. Sherrill was a senior. Michael Tackett, New York Times, "From Annapolis to Congress? These Three Women Know Tough Missions," 29 Jan. 2018 The plebes must replace it with an upperclassman’s hat. Marissa J. Lang, Washington Post, "‘Plebes no more’: After 2 hours 9 minutes, Naval Academy freshmen conquer greased monument," 21 May 2018 For us mere mortals, plebes, and laypeople, the Met Gala all but ends when the red carpet is over. Sarah Spellings, The Cut, "The Best Celebrity Instagrams From Inside the Met Gala," 8 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'plebe.' 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 plebe

1833, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for plebe

obsolete plebe common people, from French plèbe, from Latin plebs

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Time Traveler for plebe

The first known use of plebe was in 1833

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English Language Learners Definition of plebe

: a student in the first year at a military or naval school

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What made you want to look up plebe? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


obstinately defiant of authority

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