proletariat

noun
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

While the Soviet Union was — at least in theory — a dictatorship of the proletariat, Putin’s Russia is truly a spin doctor dictatorship. Leonid Ragozin, Time, "Moscow's Elections Show Putin Is Losing the War at Home," 10 Sep. 2019 In some ways this affluent proletariat viewed itself as a kind of modern yeomanry — willing to serve the country in war, but anxious to live self-sufficiently and among equals. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, "Service Jobs and Democracy," 16 Aug. 2019 Since 2002, the Red Door is where Salt Lake City’s savvy proletariats and up-and-coming revolutionaries gather to chat about economics and world affairs over sophisticated cocktails. James Charisma, Los Angeles Times, "A guide to Salt Lake City’s burgeoning bar scene," 3 Aug. 2019 In Chinese, da means big, and long means dragon, a sacred symbol of the emperor, alluding to Chengdu’s imperious sense of itself as a place of cultural refinement, and to its scorn for Chongqing’s salt-of-the-earth proletariat. Jiayang Fan, The New Yorker, "Go Bold at Da Long Yi Hot Pot," 25 May 2018 Marx’s proletariat is being reborn as the precariat. The Economist, "Rulers of the world: read Karl Marx!," 3 May 2018 Its modernization had involved uprooting the peasants, the vast majority of the population, from the countryside and turning them into an urban proletariat. Azar Gat, WSJ, "The ‘Modernizing Dictator’ Is No Myth," 13 Nov. 2018 More critically, the claim that our current crisis has economic roots does not rest on psychoanalyzing the Trumpen proletariat. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "America’s Version of Capitalism Is Incompatible With Democracy," 23 May 2018 Hernandez also wants to stir the proletariat to like him — finally — and not be angry with the Giants for keeping him around at the expense of prospect Steven Duggar, who might spend the entire summer in Sacramento honing his bat. Henry Schulman, San Francisco Chronicle, "Giants’ Hernandez turning AT&T into Gorkys’ park," 7 June 2018

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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Statistics for proletariat

Last Updated

30 Sep 2019

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The first known use of proletariat was in 1847

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