1. Of or relating to the common people of ancient Rome: a plebeian magistrate.
2. Of, belonging to, or characteristic of commoners.
3. Unrefined or coarse in nature or manner; common or vulgar: plebeian tastes.
1. One of the common people of ancient Rome.
2. A member of the lower classes.
3. A vulgar or coarse person.
[From Latin plēbius, from plēbs, plēb-, the common people; see pelə-1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.