If someone referred to you as a "pleb"

  GRIDD 09:05 08 Sep 2008

would you take offence?

I have a colleague (not quite a boss, but higher paid & slightly more responsibilities than most) who constantly refers to me and the rest of the team as "the plebs"...

"I'm not cleaning the back yard, one of the plebs can do it"

I told him that I didn't like the term but he laughed it off saying I was over-reacting, so was I?

Looking at this definition click here I'd say I was right to take umbrage at it.

  peter99co 09:10 08 Sep 2008

Is there not a biblical connection?

Or is it religious connection?

  laurie53 09:11 08 Sep 2008

I would regard it as offensive, on a par with "peasant".

  GRIDD 09:13 08 Sep 2008

Lower classes in Ancient Rome... click here wikipedia

  Simsy 09:17 08 Sep 2008

it depends on how it was delivered, and what the intent was when it was delivered.

It stems from "Plebian" which, (if I recall correctly!), meant "commoner", or perhaps more accurately, "ordinary person", in the sense that it referred to someone who wasn't in power, from a political pespective.

So it was one of the electorATE, rather than one of the electED.

In contemporary usage it is often used to refer to those only capable of demeaning taks, and so may well be offensive...

But I repeat that whether one should be offended or not depends on the context and demeaner of the speaker.

It's not the words used, it's the message given, that matters. That's the philosophy I generally adopt!



  Pesala 09:20 08 Sep 2008

Well, you're not wrong to think that his speech is offensive, nor to point that out to him. Taking offence is not so useful though.

  Marko797 09:30 08 Sep 2008

"In British, Irish, Australian and South African English pleb is a derogatory term for someone thought of as inferior, common or ignorant" - to put it in modern day context (wikipedia) from the 'Roman' link you provided.

  Quickbeam 09:39 08 Sep 2008

I'd just tell him there are no plebs here in a equally sneering manner, so it'll have to remain unswept. Eventually it'll be easier to just drop the term than have to bull his way through his argument every time.

He uses it because you let him, and he gets some questionable feeling of superiority from it.

I've worked for this type before. What they can't handle is anyone throwing the same crap back at them...

  oresome 09:52 08 Sep 2008

Yes, I'd take offence.

  Grey Goo 09:59 08 Sep 2008

I suggest you stick the broom where the sun don't shine and tell him to laugh that off.

  GRIDD 10:08 08 Sep 2008

I plan to take no action against him as I simply told him it isn't a nice term and people wouldn't take kindly to it. I've been called worse in the past, believe me! so I wasn't bothered really. I was just curious to see if it's regarded as offensive like I had thought it would be...

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