Definition of lumpen in English:



  • 1(in Marxist contexts) uninterested in revolutionary advancement.

    ‘the lumpen public is enveloped in a culture of dependency’
    • ‘We are not obliged to share the superficial view that lumpen social layers possess an inherently revolutionary character.’
    • ‘More significantly, these agents have become crusaders for the issue and while mobilising support among the young, and largely lumpen groups, have spearheaded a hate campaign against the religious minorities.’
    • ‘In some respects, his legend as an eccentric genius of economics only spread because he was the last of the treasurers whose plans were only analysed by the Opposition and the lumpen eco-commentariat of the press.’
    • ‘The lumpen city mayor, meanwhile, has a plan: bulldoze the former homes of the poor, introduce city-wide internet access and build seven new casinos.’
    • ‘One of the most pernicious evils of contemporary BritKapital is to have lured the proletariat into limiting their potential to the pursuit of lumpen hedonism.’
    • ‘Of the lumpen masses, 1.5 million died in concentration camps and 1.3 million in the war against the outside world.’
    • ‘Or, to be more precise, giving the lazy-minded lumpen proles what they want.’
    • ‘But even in the face of this lumpen barrier to progress, we still dream.’
    1. 1.1Boorish and stupid.
      ‘the growing ranks of lumpen, uninhibited, denim-clad youth’
      • ‘A later unscrupulous Pope decided to conflate the sundry Biblical Marys into the single persona of Mary Magdalene to avoid confusing the lumpen faithful of the times.’
      • ‘At long last the lumpen England fan has woken from a deep historic stupor and realised that Scotland is off, and is never coming back.’
      • ‘The lumpen scum whose abuse made him flip the finger last Monday night, at the end of the England game, know exactly what Becks is about.’
      • ‘And that's just your average lumpen British builder.’
      • ‘Why, one might ask, are the matrons of this little village procuring the potions of a black-clad spinster to poison their lumpen, ruddy old husbands?’
      • ‘It cannot be any great source of wonder, then, that the lumpen jerks singing away so merrily in praise of genocide and terrorism at Ibrox and Celtic Park might feel the tiniest bit justified.’
      • ‘The lumpen and guilt-stricken driver, on the other hand, is as made for the task.’
      stupid, foolish, idiotic, cretinous
  • 2British Lumpy and misshapen; ugly and ponderous.

    ‘her own body was lumpen and awkward’
    • ‘Usually we can make out no more than a lumpen shape in the gloom.’
    • ‘Enter the UglyRipe, a lumpen, misshapen, odd duck of a tomato grown near Naples, Florida.’
    • ‘Squat and lumpen, its form betrays its origins as clay shaped by hand.’
    • ‘Jamie was particularly incensed that his attention was drawn from a beautifully lean and perfectly cooked fillet of beef by lumpen, doughy and oversized foie gras ravioli that needed considerable endurance for him to dispatch.’
    • ‘I used to obsess over mine - not because it was especially big or small or lumpen or anything, but because everyone else could do something with theirs, which I couldn't.’
    • ‘Granted, the smell isn't rosy, and the work can be tough on your hump - a lumpen mass of gristle, muscle, bone and sinew - but this ensures you don't dawdle on the job.’
    • ‘They are roughly textured lumpen masses, yet they're instantly recognizable, which makes for a palpable tension.’
    • ‘Below me circling somewhere beneath the swell are the lumpen outlines of not one but two 15 ft Great White Sharks.’
    • ‘They seem to recede into his head, which is shaved and lumpen and looks like it was built for beating on.’

plural noun

the lumpen
  • The lumpenproletariat.

    ‘And none ever sucked so much money out of the lumpen.’


1940s back-formation from lumpenproletariat; the sense ‘misshapen, ponderous’ is by association with lumpish.