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Alternative forms[edit]


From French prolétariat, from Latin proletarius (a man whose only wealth is his offspring, or whose sole service to the state is as father), from proles (offspring, posterity)


  • (US) enPR: 'prōlĭʹtârēət, IPA(key): /ˌpɹoʊlɪˈtɛəɹi.ət/
  • (file)


proletariat (countable and uncountable, plural proletariats)

  1. The working class or lower class.
    • 1906, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Manifesto of the Communist Party[1], page 173:
      "Of all the classes that stand face to face with the bourgeoisie to day the proletariat alone is a really revolutionary class."
  2. The wage earners collectively, excluding salaried workers.
  3. (historical) In ancient Rome, the lowest class of citizens, who had no property; "regarded as contributing nothing to the state but offspring" (OED, 1992).

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