Definition of rabble in English:


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  • 1A disorderly crowd; a mob.

    ‘he was met by a rabble of noisy, angry youths’
    • ‘The rest of his army is a miscellaneous rabble who have never seen war, and will run away when they hear the first shot fired.’
    • ‘‘Independence day has always been a noisy holiday celebrating the dizzying rabble of a populist uprising,’ he writes in his inimitable style.’
    • ‘A rabble gathers outside Whitechapel tube station at 2pm every Sunday afternoon, waits for the guide to make him/herself known, pays a fiver, then sets off to hear about the real history of the area.’
    • ‘He wondered how anyone could ever think that such a rabble could win a war against a trained, well-equipped Army.’
    • ‘‘It's an 18 th-century anachronism invented by guys who didn't believe the unwashed rabble were smart enough to elect a leader,’ he says.’
    • ‘But we knew that a flag flying above our squalid little camp would convert us from a fugitive rabble into a disciplined force which - however tiny - would have to be reckoned with.’
    • ‘It carries with it, of course, the risk that the guilty may sometimes go free, but that is a risk worth taking where the alternative may be either the arbitrary power of the state, or the power of the populist rabble.’
    • ‘His comment to the media was that he wouldn't, as a matter of principle, talk to a rabble that used this method (marching in the streets) of expressing their views.’
    • ‘Approval of words is obviously not obtained by referring to the official Scrabble dictionary, but is solely subject to the opinion of the vile rabble with whom you are playing.’
    • ‘Almost every pub and nightclub has scores of security staff watching out for trouble yet when the same rabble get to the public street a tiny number of Gardaí are expected to do the same job.’
    • ‘They're not a rabble, there's some serious people there.’
    • ‘The political rabble has shown its ire in ugly racial terms, too.’
    • ‘And it's no surprise. Nobody with any choices would agree to stand up in front of an undisciplined rabble every day.’
    • ‘They were soft-spoken men of means and education; they were not an unwashed rabble.’
    • ‘Fear of the marauding rabble of dispossessed poor has existed for centuries.’
    • ‘The serving of cheap champagne in plastic cups followed, dished up by a tour guide so obviously bored by the daily grind of conveying rabbles of foreigners around the rock that I couldn't help wondering why he was there.’
    • ‘They were a right rabble, swearing and throwing rubbish around.’
    mob, crowd, disorderly crowd, throng, gang, swarm, host, horde, pack, press, crush, jam, gathering, assemblage, multitude, mass, body, group
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    1. 1.1the rabble derogatory Ordinary people, especially when regarded as socially inferior or uncouth.
      • ‘There were a few middle-aged guys trying to keep the rabble under control.’
      the common people, the masses, the populace, the public, the multitude, the rank and file, the commonality, the commonalty, the third estate, the plebeians, the proletariat, the peasantry, the crowd, the hoi polloi, the lower classes, the common herd, the riff-raff, the canaille, the great unwashed, the dregs of society, the ragtag, the ragtag and bobtail, the proles, the plebs
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/ˈrab(ə)l/ /ˈræb(ə)l/


Late Middle English (in the senses ‘string of meaningless words’ and ‘pack of animals’): perhaps related to dialect rabble ‘to gabble’.