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plebeian

[pli-bee-uh n] /plɪˈbi ən/
adjective
1.
belonging or pertaining to the common people.
2.
of, pertaining to, or belonging to the ancient Roman plebs.
3.
common, commonplace, or vulgar:
a plebeian joke.
noun
4.
a member of the common people.
5.
a member of the ancient Roman plebs.
Origin
1525-1535
1525-35; < Latin plēbēi(us) of the plebs (plēbē(s) plebs + -ius adj. suffix) + -an
Related forms
plebeianism, noun
plebeianly, adverb
plebeianness, noun
unplebeian, adjective
Synonyms
3. lowbrow, low, ordinary, popular.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for plebeian
  • For thousands of years, the vehicle of choice for everyone from peasant and plebeian to patrician and prince was horse-drawn.
  • There are persons who consider buckwheat cakes a plebeian dainty.
  • Today's version is closer to accents that once would have been termed plebeian.
  • While others fumbled for quarters in the plebeian lodge, he rode an elevator up to his personalized locker.
  • Such plebeian feeds often miss out on the recipe treatment.
  • It was a rowdy, plebeian entertainment then, not some cultural treasure.
  • One of his characters remarks that the hair alone makes a certain plebeian insufferable.
  • In this wide-open career the plebeian suffered for his mediocrity, and the sceptic for his doubt.
British Dictionary definitions for plebeian

plebeian

/pləˈbiːən/
adjective
1.
of, relating to, or characteristic of the common people, esp those of Rome
2.
lacking refinement; vulgar: plebeian tastes
noun
3.
one of the common people, esp one of the Roman plebs
4.
a person who is coarse or lacking in discernment
Derived Forms
plebeianism, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin plēbēius belonging to the people, from plēbs the common people of ancient Rome
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for plebeian
adj.

also plebian, "of or characteristic of the lower class," 1560s in a Roman historical sense, from Latin plebeius "belonging to the plebs," earlier plebes, "the populace, the common people" (as opposed to patricians, etc.), also "commonality; the mass, the multitude; the lower class," from PIE *ple- (see pleio-). In general (non-historical) use from 1580s.

n.

"member of the lowest class," 1530s, from Latin plebius "person not of noble rank," from adjective meaning "of the common people" (see plebeian (adj.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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