• IPA: /plɪˈbiːən/

plebeian (plural plebeians)

  1. (historical, Ancient Rome) A member of the plebs, the common citizens of ancient Rome.
    Synonyms: commoner, pleb, plebe
    Antonyms: patrician
  2. A commoner, particularly (pejorative) 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, 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.
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  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, p. 301:
      ...priuate person or plebian multitude...
  3. Common, particularly (pejorative) 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.
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