Definition of lumpen in US English:



  • 1(in Marxist contexts) uninterested in revolutionary advancement.

    ‘the lumpen public is enveloped in a culture of dependency’
    • ‘Or, to be more precise, giving the lazy-minded lumpen proles what they want.’
    • ‘But even in the face of this lumpen barrier to progress, we still dream.’
    • ‘More significantly, these agents have become crusaders for the issue and while mobilising support among the young, and largely lumpen groups, have spearheaded a hate campaign against the religious minorities.’
    • ‘The lumpen city mayor, meanwhile, has a plan: bulldoze the former homes of the poor, introduce city-wide internet access and build seven new casinos.’
    • ‘One of the most pernicious evils of contemporary BritKapital is to have lured the proletariat into limiting their potential to the pursuit of lumpen hedonism.’
    • ‘Of the lumpen masses, 1.5 million died in concentration camps and 1.3 million in the war against the outside world.’
    • ‘We are not obliged to share the superficial view that lumpen social layers possess an inherently revolutionary character.’
    • ‘In some respects, his legend as an eccentric genius of economics only spread because he was the last of the treasurers whose plans were only analysed by the Opposition and the lumpen eco-commentariat of the press.’
    1. 1.1 Boorish and stupid.
      ‘growing ranks of lumpen, uninhibited, denim-clad youth’
      • ‘And that's just your average lumpen British builder.’
      • ‘It cannot be any great source of wonder, then, that the lumpen jerks singing away so merrily in praise of genocide and terrorism at Ibrox and Celtic Park might feel the tiniest bit justified.’
      • ‘A later unscrupulous Pope decided to conflate the sundry Biblical Marys into the single persona of Mary Magdalene to avoid confusing the lumpen faithful of the times.’
      • ‘The lumpen scum whose abuse made him flip the finger last Monday night, at the end of the England game, know exactly what Becks is about.’
      • ‘The lumpen and guilt-stricken driver, on the other hand, is as made for the task.’
      • ‘At long last the lumpen England fan has woken from a deep historic stupor and realised that Scotland is off, and is never coming back.’
      • ‘Why, one might ask, are the matrons of this little village procuring the potions of a black-clad spinster to poison their lumpen, ruddy old husbands?’
      stupid, foolish, idiotic, cretinous
      View synonyms

plural noun

the lumpen
  • The lumpenproletariat.

    • ‘And none ever sucked so much money out of the lumpen.’


1940s: back-formation from lumpenproletariat; the sense ‘misshapen, ponderous’ is by association with lumpish.