pro·​le·​tar·​i·​at | \ ˌprō-lə-ˈter-ē-ət How to pronounce proletariat (audio) , -ē-ˌat \

Definition of proletariat

1 : the laboring class especially : the class of industrial workers who lack their own means of production and hence sell their labor to live
2 : the lowest social or economic class of a community

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Examples of proletariat in a Sentence

the Bolsheviks believed that Russia's discontented proletariat made that nation ripe for revolution
Recent Examples on the Web He’s there to take down Mike Pence and all of the people orbiting around Trump, whereas my movie showed the humanitarian nature of the proletariat. Rebecca Alter, Vulture, "Eric Andre Couldn’t Have Made Bad Trip Without Meg Ryan," 26 Mar. 2021 Even in its earliest periods, hand knitting had a sociopolitical bent, as the proletariat toiled to make luxury garments for European royalty. Carrie Battan, The New Yorker, "How Politics Tested Ravelry and the Crafting Community," 22 Mar. 2021 There were also workers buying one stock at a time and railing against the powers that be in the chatrooms, with the voice of the proletariat, as Orwell might say, in their mouths. Anonymous, The New Republic, "I Bought Tens of Thousands of Dollars of GameStop Stock. And I Have No Regrets.," 1 Feb. 2021 Under Stalin, and for years after his death in 1953, officially sanctioned artwork emphasized a Socialist Realist glorification of the heroic proletariat. Emily Langer, Washington Post, "Irina Antonova, grande dame of Russian cultural life, dies at 98," 4 Dec. 2020 As a veteran reader of Soviet fiction, I was tempted to conclude that we are meant to condemn Sun Hee as someone motivated simply by a bourgeois desire for social status, denigrating the noble work of an unsung hero of the proletariat. Sophie Pinkham, The New York Review of Books, "‘Something Resembling Normal Life’," 17 Nov. 2020 The proletariat visionaries here are literal prisoners, whose incarceration saves them from the rampaging sickness outside. Pasha Malla, The New Yorker, "“I Burn Paris” and the Temptation of Newly Topical Fiction," 30 Oct. 2020 In this Marxist conception of the middle class that was somewhat clarifying to me, the middle class is subject to the control and power of the capitalists, but also has control and power over the proletariat. Kristin Iversen,, "We Tell Ourselves Lies In Order To Buy Things: Eula Biss On Capitalism, Art, & White Women," 2 Sep. 2020 Marxism in its origins primarily focused on the industrial proletariat, but Mao’s model, unlike the one that guided Lenin and the Russian revolutionaries to victory, suggested that the peasantry could become the revolutionary social class. Julian Gewirtz, Harper's Magazine, "To Rebel Is Justified," 30 Mar. 2020

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

1847, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for proletariat

French prolétariat, from Latin proletarius

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Time Traveler for proletariat

Time Traveler

The first known use of proletariat was in 1847

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Statistics for proletariat

Last Updated

7 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Proletariat.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 May. 2021.

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