Lumpen Intellectual

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sun Nov 21 21:20:02 UTC 2010

At 12:01 PM -0800 11/21/10, James Dawson wrote:
>Somewhat prompted and encouraged by Ronald's post, I thought I stop
>procrastinating and ask another question, thinking maybe I can
>inject the interest of some fresh neophyte blood into the forum.
>I have occasionally over the years referred to myself as a "lumpen
>intellectual" in a sort of humorously self-deprecating way.
>What I have wondered about this term is, did I invent it myself, or
>did someone else?  If the latter, I've wondered if I might not be
>misusing it.  I've looked it up in my condensed OED, but found only
>"lumpen", without intellectual.  I don't think I've found much, if
>anything, on Google.

The first hit, though, is a link to an AHD entry for "lumpen":

...dispossessed people who have been cut off from the social and
economic class to which they would normally belong (The American
Heritage Dictionary's example of this usage is "lumpen intellectuals
unable to find work in their fields")

and there's also someone who has grabbed lumpen.intellectual at


The American Dialect Society -

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