English edit

Alternative forms edit

Etymology edit

From Latin plēbēius (a commoner; common) + -an (forming adjectives), from Latin plēbēs + -ius (forming adjectives), possibly under the influence of Middle French plebeyen, plebein, plebien (a commoner) and plebeien (concerning the common people). Cf. Medieval Latin plēbēiānus (a commoner), from plēbēius + -ānus.

Pronunciation edit

  • IPA(key): /pliˈbiːən/, /plɛbˈiːən/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -iːən

Noun edit

plebeian (plural plebeians)

  1. (historical, Ancient Rome) A member of the plebs, the common citizens of ancient Rome.
    Synonyms: commoner, pleb, plebe
    Antonym: patrician
  2. A commoner, particularly (derogatory) a low, vulgar person.
    Synonyms: commoner, villain, peasant, nobody
    Antonyms: noble, aristocrat
    • c. 1550, Robert Wedderburn, The Complaynt of Scotlande..., Ch. xv, p. 102:
      There blude... vald hef na bettir cullour nor the blude of ane plebien or of ane mecanik craftis man.
    • 1748, David Hume, Enquiries concerning the human understanding and concerning the principles of moral., London: Oxford University Press, published 1973, § 3:
      The feelings of our heart, the agitation of our passions, the vehemence of our affections, dissipate all its conclusions, and reduce the profound philosopher to a mere plebeian.

Derived terms edit

Related terms edit

Translations edit

Adjective edit

plebeian (comparative more plebeian, superlative most plebeian)

  1. (historical) Of or concerning the plebs, the common citizens of ancient Rome.
    • 1566, William Painter, The Palace of Pleasure Beautified, Vol. I, Ch. iv, fol. 9 verso:
      To what purpose be the plebeian Magistrates ordeined?
  2. Of or concerning the common people.
    • 1602, William Watson, A Decacordon of Ten Quodlibeticall Questions, page 301:
      ...priuate person or plebian multitude...
  3. Common, particularly (derogatory) vulgar, crude, coarse, uncultured.
    • 1615, Robert Armin, The Valiant Welshman, Vol. i, Ch. i, sig. B:
      For to plebeyan wits, it is as good,
      As to be silent, as not vnderstood.
    • 1953, Arthur Hamilton (lyrics and music), “Cry Me a River”:
      [] told me love was too plebeian / told me you were through with me
    • 2016 September 8, Andrew Cunningham, “The $10,000 golden Apple Watch is no more”, in Arstechnica[1]:
      Completely absent was any mention of the Apple Watch Edition branding, which Apple used last year to launch a pair of $10,000-and-up Apple Watches that worked the same way as the cheap ones but were made out of actual gold instead of workaday, plebeian metals.

Synonyms edit

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Further reading edit

Romanian edit

Etymology edit

Borrowed from French plébéien. By surface analysis, plebe +‎ -ian.

Adjective edit

plebeian m or n (feminine singular plebeiană, masculine plural plebeieni, feminine and neuter plural plebeiene)

  1. plebeian

Declension edit