Definition of rabble in US English:



  • 1A disorderly crowd; a mob.

    ‘he was met by a rabble of noisy, angry youths’
    • ‘They're not a rabble, there's some serious people there.’
    • ‘‘Independence day has always been a noisy holiday celebrating the dizzying rabble of a populist uprising,’ he writes in his inimitable style.’
    • ‘Approval of words is obviously not obtained by referring to the official Scrabble dictionary, but is solely subject to the opinion of the vile rabble with whom you are playing.’
    • ‘The serving of cheap champagne in plastic cups followed, dished up by a tour guide so obviously bored by the daily grind of conveying rabbles of foreigners around the rock that I couldn't help wondering why he was there.’
    • ‘It carries with it, of course, the risk that the guilty may sometimes go free, but that is a risk worth taking where the alternative may be either the arbitrary power of the state, or the power of the populist rabble.’
    • ‘Almost every pub and nightclub has scores of security staff watching out for trouble yet when the same rabble get to the public street a tiny number of Gardaí are expected to do the same job.’
    • ‘The political rabble has shown its ire in ugly racial terms, too.’
    • ‘He wondered how anyone could ever think that such a rabble could win a war against a trained, well-equipped Army.’
    • ‘His comment to the media was that he wouldn't, as a matter of principle, talk to a rabble that used this method (marching in the streets) of expressing their views.’
    • ‘The rest of his army is a miscellaneous rabble who have never seen war, and will run away when they hear the first shot fired.’
    • ‘A rabble gathers outside Whitechapel tube station at 2pm every Sunday afternoon, waits for the guide to make him/herself known, pays a fiver, then sets off to hear about the real history of the area.’
    • ‘They were a right rabble, swearing and throwing rubbish around.’
    • ‘And it's no surprise. Nobody with any choices would agree to stand up in front of an undisciplined rabble every day.’
    • ‘‘It's an 18 th-century anachronism invented by guys who didn't believe the unwashed rabble were smart enough to elect a leader,’ he says.’
    • ‘Fear of the marauding rabble of dispossessed poor has existed for centuries.’
    • ‘They were soft-spoken men of means and education; they were not an unwashed rabble.’
    • ‘But we knew that a flag flying above our squalid little camp would convert us from a fugitive rabble into a disciplined force which - however tiny - would have to be reckoned with.’
    mob, crowd, disorderly crowd, throng, gang, swarm, host, horde, pack, press, crush, jam, gathering, assemblage, multitude, mass, body, group
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    1. 1.1the rabblederogatory Ordinary people, especially when regarded as socially inferior or uncouth.
      • ‘There were a few middle-aged guys trying to keep the rabble under control.’
      the common people, the masses, the populace, the public, the multitude, the rank and file, the commonality, the commonalty, the third estate, the plebeians, the proletariat, the peasantry, the crowd, the hoi polloi, the lower classes, the common herd, the riff-raff, the canaille, the great unwashed, the dregs of society, the ragtag, the ragtag and bobtail, the proles, the plebs
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Late Middle English (in the senses ‘string of meaningless words’ and ‘pack of animals’): perhaps related to dialect rabble ‘to gabble’.