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

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 The proletariat profited simply in exchange for unquestioning, loyal service. Douglas London, CNN, 11 Apr. 2022 This is far more than an angry mob shouting in keystrokes, but the proto-proletariat of a feudalizing post-industrial society . . . Andrew Stuttaford, National Review, 1 Apr. 2022 Climate refugees may provoke social upheaval but seem unpromising replacements for the revolutionary subject of the proletariat. Thomas Meaney, The New Republic, 30 Mar. 2022 Keep making the proletariat more and more desperate. Jack Kelly, Forbes, 27 Mar. 2022 The scuffling between the disadvantaged proletariat below decks and preening nobs above? New York Times, 1 Feb. 2022 The party’s solution was to indoctrinate and incorporate non-Han peoples into the dictatorship of the proletariat. Ian Buruma, Harper’s Magazine , 18 Jan. 2022 It’s the proletariat versus the bourgeoisie, executives versus front-line team members, management versus union, Jedi versus the Sith. Dan Pontefract, Forbes, 26 Oct. 2021 Surely no dictatorship of the proletariat could improve on that. Timothy Noah, The New Republic, 21 July 2021 See More

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.

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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The first known use of proletariat was in 1847

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Last Updated

19 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Proletariat.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on proletariat

Nglish: Translation of proletariat for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of proletariat for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about proletariat


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