pro·​le·​tar·​i·​an | \ ˌprō-lə-ˈter-ē-ən How to pronounce proletarian (audio) \

Definition of proletarian

: a member of the proletariat

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Other Words from proletarian

proletarian adjective

Examples of proletarian in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Yet modern liberalism fits the modern world of high human capital better than the old rightish model of dim-witted peasants properly led by the aristocracy or the old leftish model of gormless proletarians properly led by The Party. The Economist, "Open Future The power of liberalism can combat oppression in all its forms," 8 Jan. 2020 Owing to the extensive use of machinery and to division of labour, the work of the proletarians has lost all individual character, and, consequently, all charm for the workman. Tristram Hunt, WSJ, "Elegy for the Floating City," 25 Jan. 2019 The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. Erik Kirschbaum,, "Karl Marx is turning 200, and that's creating a stir in Germany, which was literally divided over his ideas," 3 May 2018 Unlike the proletarians whom Karl Marx exhorted to shed their chains, most people have rather a lot to lose. Yascha Mounk, Slate Magazine, "The Dutch Election Is Not a Cause for Celebration," 16 Mar. 2017 What if a roving band of mutant proletarians suddenly shows up at the front door? John Carl Baker, New Republic, "Income Inequality Will Survive the Nuclear Apocalypse," 14 July 2017

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

circa 1657, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for proletarian

Latin proletarius, from proles progeny, from pro- forth + -oles (akin to alere to nourish) — more at old

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Time Traveler for proletarian

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The first known use of proletarian was circa 1657

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Cite this Entry

“Proletarian.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jan. 2021.

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How to pronounce proletarian (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of proletarian

: a person who has low social status : a member of the working class

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