proletarian Look up proletarian at
1650s (n.) "member of the lowest class;" 1660s (adj.) "of the lowest class of people;" with -ian + Latin proletarius "citizen of the lowest class" (as an adjective, "relating to offspring"), in ancient Rome, propertyless people, exempted from taxes and military service, who served the state only by having children; from proles "offspring, progeny" (see prolific).