Word of the Day

Wednesday, March 23, 2005


\LUHM-puhn; LUM-puhn\ , adjective;
plural lumpen, also lumpens
Of or relating to dispossessed and displaced individuals, especially those who have lost social status.
Common; vulgar.
A member the underclass, especially the lowest social stratum.
. . .an academic sweatshop where underpaid lumpen intellectuals slave for a pittance.
-- Ashlea Ebeling, "I got my degree through e-mail", Forbes, June 16, 1997
If traditionally cricket has been the game of the elite, and football strictly for the lumpen masses, all that's changed now.
-- Louisa Buck, "Fever pitch", ArtForum, October 1996
Though I appreciate that Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is a self-made man, having made his billions by selling the voltage of his brainpower to behemoths such as CompuServe and Yahoo!, and though I also appreciate that he has maintained his ability to mingle with the lumpen, he still is a very, very rich man.
-- Sean Deveney, "Mavs make their move, but at what cost?", Sporting News, March 4, 2002
The New Russians are depicted as lumpens who have left the countryside and never fully adjusted to city life.
-- Emil Draitser, "The new Russians' jokelore: Genesis and sociological interpretations", Demokratizatsiya, Summer 2001
Lumpen is from German Lumpenproletariat, "degraded stratum of the proletariat," from Lump, "a contemptible person" (from Lumpen, "rags") + Proletariat, "proletariat," from French.
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