What is a pleb?

Andrew Mitchell PlebThe term “Pleb” has risen to prominence recently due to the well publicised outburst by the British Conservative Party member and serving member of parliament for Sutton Coldfield, Andrew Mitchell, referring to a police officer working outside number 10 Downing Street as a “pleb”.

Due to the derogatory meaning of the word pleb, the politician’s foul-mouthed tirade caused uproar. 

The word pleb in essence refers to the class of common people but has far deeper meanings when referring to an individual, as in this case.  In effect it refers to someone who is a member of a lower or despised social class, a vulgar commoner and even someone whom is undisinguished or from a poor family background.

The term originates from ancient Rome, where commoners were referred to the ‘Plebs of Rome’.

Given this context, you can now see why Andrew Mitchell’s outspoken view made the headlines – especially when aimed at the UK’s law enforcement officers!