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[luhm-puh n-proh-li-tair-ee-uh t] /ˈlʌm pənˌproʊ lɪˈtɛər i ət/

noun, (sometimes initial capital letter) (esp. in Marxist theory)
the lowest level of the proletariat comprising unskilled workers, vagrants, and criminals and characterized by a lack of class identification and solidarity.
(esp in Marxist theory) the amorphous urban social group below the proletariat, consisting of criminals, tramps, etc

1897, from German Lumpenproletariat (1850), from Karl Marx, who coined it to mean “rabble, poorest of the working class,” from German lump “ragamuffin” + proletariat. Secondary sense of “boorish, stupid people” led to lumpen- being taken as a suffix meaning “unenlightened.”


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