• Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Plebs Hence, the common people; the populace; -- construed as a pl.
    • Plebs The commonalty of ancient Rome who were citizens without the usual political rights; the plebeians; -- distinguished from the patricians.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n plebs The lower order of citizens in ancient Rome; the plebeians; hence, in general, the populace. The members of this order were originally of pure Latin blood, but were not among the founders of Rome; they were recruited from the ranks of the clients and of the Latin peoples who had been annexed by Rome; while citizens, they did not figure in the three tribes or in the curiæ and gentes of the patricians, and were thus excluded from the comitia, the senate, and all public, civil, and religious offices. They had all the duties and burdens of citizens with greatly restricted privileges. After the establishment of the republic there took place a long struggle between the two orders. The plebeians secured the institution of the tribunate, various reforms, and an increased share in the government; their efforts culminated when, by the Licinian laws (about 367 b. c.), they secured one of the two consulships. The offices of dictator, censor, and pretor were soon opened to them, and finally, by the Ogulnian law (300 b. c.), the sacred colleges. The strife practically ended by the final confirmation of the extended plebiscitum, about 286 b. c. (See plebiscitum.) Under the kings and the republica plebeian could be raised to patrician rank only by a lex curiata; Julius Cæsar and the emperors conferred the distinction by personal decree. Patrician families or individuals sometimes went over to the plebeian order, for various reasons.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Plebs plebz the common people.
    • ***


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L. Cf. Plebe
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary


In literature:

And the enthusiasm was not confined to the blood of the plebs.
"Cabbages and Kings" by O. Henry
The plebs have robbed us of THAT trade among others: nor, I confess, do I much grudge them their trouvaille.
"The Fitz-Boodle Papers" by William Makepeace Thackeray
This is called the First Secession of the Plebs, and is said to have been in 494.
"History of Rome from the Earliest times down to 476 AD" by Robert F. Pennell
Roman plebs first admitted to the quaestorship.
"The Great Events by Famous Historians, Vol. 2" by Various
There is no disguising the fact that Schubert, prince of musicians, was personally a hopeless little pleb.
"The Love Affairs of Great Musicians, Volume 2" by Rupert Hughes
On the other hand he would have had comparatively doubtful support from the plebs.
"Public Lands and Agrarian Laws of the Roman Republic" by Andrew Stephenson
This Lucius was tribune of the Plebs B.C.
"Plutarch's Lives, Volume II" by Aubrey Stewart & George Long
They were called the plebs (the multitude) and were not considered a part of the Roman people.
"History Of Ancient Civilization" by Charles Seignobos
Tribune of the Plebs 162 115.
"A Smaller History of Rome" by William Smith and Eugene Lawrence
The Plebs are always in the crushing majority.
"Villa Elsa" by Stuart Henry
The rascally young plebs!
"Marcus: the Young Centurion" by George Manville Fenn
But the plebs of later days is not to be explained on one hypothesis only.
"The Religious Experience of the Roman People" by W. Warde Fowler
Our Plebs sew 'em on for us at night, and use the door for a thimble.
"Lady Betty Across the Water"
Taurus Antinor hath the ear of the plebs.
""Unto Caesar"" by Baroness Emmuska Orczy
On my soul, I hold that the slavery of the Louisiana black is less degrading than that of the white pleb of England.
"The Quadroon" by Mayne Reid
Instead of the greater rivals, Cinna and Octavius are matched for plebs and nobles.
"Ave Roma Immortalis, Vol. 1" by Francis Marion Crawford
Oh, eight and three-quarter acres of potential Park for the plebs!
"Punch or the London Charivari, Vol. 93, September 3, 1887" by Various
I jest unto the Plebs and make it smile.
"Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 98, 1890.05.10" by Various
The growth of the tribunate of the plebs hampered their activity both as legislators and as judges.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 7, Slice 2" by Various
On the morrow that good plebs rushed to the ramparts and fought with intrepidity.
"The Iron Arrow Head or The Buckler Maiden" by Eugène Sue

In poetry:

When Bryan speaks, the wigwam shakes.
The corporation magnate quakes.
The pre-convention plot is smashed.
The valiant pleb full-armed awakes.
"When Bryan Speaks" by Vachel Lindsay

In news:

Let the Plebs Touch the DCS.
Of course, it may be that for Professor Frank the "real significance" of the book is that he has at last discovered the elementary fact that the Roman plebs, like the plebs in other ages, was nationalist and imperialist in its attitudes.
Who says 'pleb' nowadays .
The party protesters buzzing around PC Pleb .
Alongside delusions of vehicular grandeur, Mr Mitchell is alleged (in a quickly leaked report to the Sun newspaper) to have called the police "fucking plebs ".
The Tory chief whip Andrew Mitchell has flatly denied calling Downing Street police officers " plebs ".
Roman leaders were generally drawn from the aristocracy, but ambitious politicians could still rise to power by appealing to the plebs .
LONDON — In class-conscious Britain, a Cabinet minister is in trouble over a four-letter word: " pleb .".
Pleb — short for plebeian — comes from the Latin plebeius, the mass of ordinary citizens apart from the elite of upper-class patricians.
F or every popped-collar blue blood swanning about this tony enclave, there's a pleb-friendly local willing to cut a deal.