working class

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working class (plural working classes)

  1. The social class of those who perform physical work for a living, as opposed to the professional or middle class, the upper class, or others.
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 13, The Mirror and the Lamp:
      And Vickers launched forth into a tirade very different from his platform utterances. He spoke with extreme contempt of the dense stupidity exhibited on all occasions by the working classes. He said that if you wanted to do anything for them, you must rule them, not pamper them.


Coordinate terms[edit]



working class (working-class before noun)

  1. Relating to the working class; suggestive of the working class in manner of speaking, outlook, appearance or other qualities.



Usage notes[edit]

The term working class is often used according to cultural rather than strict socio-economic criteria. It can be politically charged or neutral. Similarly, it can be derogatory, neutral, or positive.