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A.Word.A.Day--lumpen

Pronunciation RealAudio

lumpen (LUM-pen) adjective

1. Of or relating to dispossessed people who have been cut off from the social and economic class to which they would normally belong; belonging to the underclass.

2. Unrefined or unenlightened.

noun

A lumpen person.

[From German Lumpenproletariat (the lowest section of the proletariat) from Lumpen (rag), from lump (ragamuffin) + French Proletariat (lowest class).]

"Normally, hallyang refers to someone who does not hold a civil service post, but has enough time and money to indulge himself in, often extravagant, leisurely activities. This epicurean lifestyle was romanticized as an ideal way of living, but succumbed to public criticism -- and in modern Korea, the word hallyang evolved to be mean something similar to a lumpen or a bum." Southwestern Dance Tradition to Come Alive; The Korea Times (Seoul, South Korea); Apr 4, 2000.

"Even as lumpen investors have been sweating out the recent free fall in global markets, some wealthy investors who hedged their risks have continued making a tidy 15 percent. What is galling is that the regulators refuse to let the rest of us in on the secret." David Ignatius; Hedge Funds for the Wealthy Few; International Herald Tribune (France); Apr 10, 2001.

This week's theme: words to describe people.

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