The lowest stratum of the proletariat. Used originally in Marxist theory to describe those members of the proletariat, especially criminals, vagrants, and the unemployed, who lacked awareness of their collective interest as an oppressed class.
Origin of lumpenproletariat
- German Lumpen pl. of Lump ragamuffin (from Middle High German lumpe rag) Proletariat proletariat (from French prolétariat proletariat)
From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition