The Prolific Proletariat

Did you knowProlific comes from French prolifique, which is in turn derived from Latin proles (progeny or offspring) + root of facere (to make).

A prolific artist, thus, is one who makes/produces many works of art and prolific growth signifies abundant growth. From the same root we also get the word proliferate (multiply, grow fast), which is used in sentences such as ‘International security and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction were discussed in the meeting.

Isaac Asimov_A Prolific Writer
Isaac Asimov, one of the most famous authors of science fiction, was a prolific writer – writing 506 books and ~90,000 letters and postcards
The Nuclear Express
The Nuclear Express: A Political History of the Bomb and Its Proliferation








Prolific, interestingly, is also connected with the word proletariat. In ancient Rome, as in many other ancient metropolis, the lowest class of citizens were often without any personal property and were therefore exempted from paying taxes. They were seen to serve the state, instead, primarily by having and raising children for the Roman state. A citizen of this class was thus called proletarius in Latin, from which we derive the English words proletariat – made famous by Karl Marx, who had incidentally studied Roman law and used it famously in the Manifesto of the Communist Party.

The word thus came to refer to a class of people dependent on daily labour. And proletarian, which also carried the connotation of vulgar or cheap, is now generally used to refer to the characteristic of (or relating to) the proletariat class, as in ‘the proletarian internationalism.’

The Communist Manifesto
“The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.” – thus begins the first chapter of Manifesto of the Communist Party, titled Bourgeois and Proletarians
The Pyramid of Capitalist System with the Proletariat ‘Working for All’ and ‘Feeding All’








Interestingly, one of the words for offspring or progeny in Sanskrit, is प्रसूति (prasUti).

What made you look up the word/s in this post? Did you find the explanations here useful or interesting? Do share by leaving a reply below! Or learn more about the Word Origin Stories series.

Leave a Reply