Definition of working class in English:

working class


  • [treated as singular or plural] The social group consisting of people who are employed for wages, especially in manual or industrial work.

    ‘the housing needs of the working classes’
    • ‘Of course, many of the latter could be working class in the Marxist definition of the term.’
    • ‘They are drawn largely from a social layer which itself is not part of the working class or peasantry.’
    • ‘For the working class, the fact that there is free association is very important indeed.’
    • ‘The working classes and middle classes are now at the mercies of the regional land market.’
    • ‘But it is clear, if sometimes understated, that the Resistance relied largely on the left and the working classes.’
    • ‘The working class has to behave collectively because it is organised collectively.’
    • ‘In turn it is the working class who are the main victims of sectarian division.’
    • ‘It shows the splendour of Europe's royal families while documenting the poverty of the working classes.’
    • ‘Indeed, the resistance of the working classes to socialist ideas made them the despair of middle-class intellectuals.’
    • ‘The capitalist class are spoken for, the working class in big numbers are sitting this one out.’
    • ‘Living standards, however, have plummeted for the middle and working classes.’
    • ‘It was a means of incorporating the working classes within the existing social and political order, and thus preventing the threat of revolt from below.’
    • ‘Middle-class models of domesticity gradually spread into both the working classes and aristocratic elites.’
    • ‘You thus argue that reducing corporate income taxes benefits big business but not the working classes.’
    • ‘Higher wages gave the working classes greater consuming power than they had had in Britain.’
    • ‘He suggests that Marx lost his faith in the ability of the working class to fight for change.’
    • ‘Though the absolute level of social mobility has grown, there has been no change in the relative mobility rates between the middle and working classes.’
    • ‘He was from a ruling class background but took up the cause of the working class.’
    • ‘He did not ignore the working class, but he made no attempt to help it organise.’
    • ‘The least likely to reach a later retirement age are from the manual working class.’


  • Relating to or characteristic of the working class.

    ‘a working-class community’
    • ‘She turned to her close friend, Parker, a working-class girl from a humble background.’
    • ‘This is why the Democrats can no longer rely on the working-class vote.’
    • ‘It was enlivened by a fresh wave of working-class migrants who brought socialism and republicanism with them.’
    • ‘Stewart was one of six children born into a working-class Polish family in New Jersey.’
    • ‘Pat, an ordinary working-class London girl, has a caring family, a job she enjoys and her own flat.’
    • ‘She soon became resentful of her entrapment within a working-class community where she never felt at home.’
    • ‘However, working-class identity is still strong and support for socialist ideas remains firm.’
    • ‘In Vietnam, this changed with the emergence of a largely working-class military.’
    • ‘I left school just an ordinary working-class boy with no qualifications.’
    • ‘As a bright but unremarkable working-class child, she was crippled by shyness and self-doubt.’
    • ‘It really wasn't so long ago that the Labour Party was the working-class party.’
    • ‘Most were poor, working-class males who hoped to return home to their families financially successful.’
    • ‘There has been a rising wave of both working-class and peasant struggles in many countries.’
    • ‘A majority of single parents, immigrants and working-class people have no savings and own no assets at all.’
    • ‘In a largely working-class golfing nation like Scotland, that surely would have been no bad thing.’
    • ‘Separating men and women in the selection process cuts across working-class unity.’
    • ‘The entirely working-class cast of characters in this novel was then an innovation.’
    • ‘Job losses and pay cuts have prompted many working-class families to borrow even more.’
    • ‘At the same time, the limits of nationalist and working-class organization have been recognized.’
    • ‘The Labour Party has a Christmas present for the working-class people of New Zealand.’
    low-ranking, low, lowly, lower-class, plebeian, proletarian, working-class, undistinguished, poor, mean, ignoble, of low birth, low-born, of low rank
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working class