A pleb is a word not too many people are familiar with. Many people actually never heard of the word pleb till it was made famous or rather notorious by British Minister Andrew Mitchell when he used it publicly on a bunch of police officers. So what does a pleb mean? What does it mean to call someone a pleb?
Calling someone a pleb means that the person is not worthy of your respect simply because the person is poor and a commoner. That is what a pleb means. It is therefore a derogative and insulting word. So why did Andrew Mitchell use the word? What happened was that Andrew Mitchell was on his bicycle as he tried making his way to Downing Street, the home and office of the UK Prime Minister, David Cameron. But as he tried passing through the gates of Downing Street, he was stopped by the police guarding the area and asked to get off his bicycle.
The Cabinet Minister, Andrew Mitchell was of course shocked and furious by what the police told him so he retorted and used certain words and language that I find difficult publishing on this site. But one of the words that he used on the police was calling them a pleb, which in the Oxford English Dictionary is defined as an unsophisticated or an uncultured person. I wonder if the police initially understood what the Cabinet Minister meant when he called them plebs. Probably they did not understand it as the word is one of the rarest words used in English Language.
I initially did not even know what it meant until after I did my research. In my research into the word pleb, I found out that it is the short for plebeian. The word was derived from the Latin word plebeius which in Latin means ordinary people or citizens who have been separated from people of the elite class.
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