pro·le·tar·i·at ( P ) Pronunciation Key (prl-târ-t)


The class of industrial wage earners who, possessing neither capital nor production means, must earn their living by selling their labor.

The poorest class of working people.

The propertyless class of ancient Rome, constituting the lowest class of citizens.

[French prolétariat, from Latin prltrius, belonging to the lowest class of Roman citizens. See proletarian.]

Source: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition

Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


n : a social class comprising those who do manual labor or work for wages; "there is a shortage of skilled labor in this field" [syn: labor, labour, working class]

Source: WordNet ® 2.0, © 2003 Princeton University