can you please define a word for a someone who comes from the small city to the big one just to make own life better? This person must be local citizen, but it keeps rude thinking, does not want to get a normal job and looking for an alternate ways to move on, like a marriage or little criminal actions, but with no violence. Russians call it "Limiter". How Americans do? Can't find out that.

  • 1
    Hi Solan, can you include a sample sentence with a fill-in-the-blank to show how this will be used?
    – livresque
    Mar 28, 2021 at 23:24
  • Hi! Yes, sure. I'm trying to translate a novel so I'm stuck with this word. “You arrived to Moscow to explore the city of opportunities? You do not want to work legally, run an open business, and you avoid the police for no reason? Then be the Limiter!” “You cannot be, say, a civil aviation pilot.” “Why? Even if I got skills?” “You’re the dirty Limiter, sorry.” “So what can I do?” “Nobody knows. Look for the streets gangs I guess. Or better keep youself close to us until we hire you.” “Hire on what?” “Hire on anything. Do you need the job man? Well don’t ask.”
    – Solan
    Mar 28, 2021 at 23:54
  • Limiter is, for example, someone who goes to Monaco to marry a montegasque and have its house and all the local rights.
    – Solan
    Mar 28, 2021 at 23:54
  • Oh, lowlife(r) looks fit, thank you!
    – Solan
    Mar 29, 2021 at 0:49
  • 2
    @StuartF My reading of the question it that the "Limiter" in Russian is not a genuine internal economic migrant but someone who sees the big city as a better place to get by without working or contributing to the life or economy of the city. I think "Freeloader" would be the nearest equivalent although a freeloader does not have to have moved from one environment to another, they can be a freeloader in their home town if people will let them.
    – BoldBen
    Dec 16, 2023 at 16:41

2 Answers 2


Given that the question has been open for a while and that no answer to it has been posted so far, it is probably safe to conclude that there is no word in English what has precisely that meaning. If having a single word with precisely that meaning is essential to what one is trying to communicate, one will have to introduce it and explicitly define it. The word could be a literal translation of the term used in the society in question (which the OP tells us is limiter), or even just a transliteration.

On the other hand, having a term with precisely that meaning may not be essential to the overall point of the communication, and one may not want to interrupt the continuity of the text by explicitly defining a new term. If one just needs to refer to a person described by the OP, in a way that conveys a rough approximation of the idea outlined in the question, one would have to use some broader or overlapping term that applies to the person, such as drifter, petty criminal, sponger, demi-monde, or (if he is successful in gaining access to the right circles) lounge lizard.


Many Americans are not familiar with the term, but I'm pretty sure the OP is:

a member of the lumpenproletariat; lumpen: one who lives from any odd jobs or petty criminality they can find in times of a crisis of capitalism.

Here is a bit from the paper linked below on this idea:

Marx’s famous portrait of the lumpenproletariat is one of the most celebrated set-pieces in a work (The Eighteenth Brumaire) and an oeuvre that at times approaches contemporaries like Dickens, Balzac, or Hugo in its social-literary verve:

Alongside ruined roués with questionable means of support and of dubious origin, degenerate and adventurous scions of the bourgeoisie, there were vagabonds, discharged soldiers, discharged convicts, runaway galley slaves, swindlers, charlatans, lazzaroni, pickpockets, tricksters, gamblers, procurers, brothel keepers, porters, literati, organ grinders, rag-pickers, knife-grinders, tinkers, beggars; in short, the entirely undefined, disintegrating mass, thrown hither and yon, which the French call la bohème. (Marx 1990, 75) [so funny, really]


Marx coined the word lumpenproletariat in response to Max Stirner’s characterization of the lower social orders as “Lumpe,” a term that was at once social (from “rags” or “ragged” – whence picturesque contemporaneous renderings of lumpenproletarian as “ragamuffin”) and moral (Lump meant “knave”) (Draper 1978, chapter 15). Stirner’s dismissive characterization of the masses stood in a long tradition, from the Roman proletarius to Burke’s “mob” and Hegel’s “rabble” (Pöbel). Marx of course sought to redeem the masses, but he did so by hiving off the potentially heroic proletariat from the dregs below. In so doing, he gave Lumpen a third meaning beyond Stirner’s descriptive and moral senses: it came to designate a remainder, the residuum of the lower classes once the cream of the proletariat had been skimmed off. Shorn of this political-historical core, the detritus emerges as even less redeemable and more dangerous than it had appeared in its original theorization. Thus, even if Marx introduced an important innovation by extending the lumpen to the highest reaches of society – in The Class Struggles in France he refers to the corrupt finance aristocracy as “the lumpenproletariat reborn at the very pinnacle of bourgeois society” (Marx 1978, 39) – it is hard not to agree with those who detect in his animus against the lumpenproletariat echoes of the fear and disdain the propertied had always directed toward their inferiors (Bussard 1987).


The ‘lumpen’ can thus serve to designate not only, as in Marx’s original theorization, a remainder the proletariat and its agents will shed on their way to revolution, but also a double that will continue to haunt them so long as the revolution remains unachieved. This situation, where the boundary between the revolutionary classes and their unsettling shadow is at the margin undecidable, can be expected to persist as long as capitalism continues to give birth to new forms of wealth and squalor, organization and chaos. For the time being, then, there is no reason to imagine that the progressive classes will cease merging with, and emerging from, their miserable, dangerous, lumpen Other – or that revolutionaries and intellectuals will transcend their ‘bohemian’ existence on the fringes of the capitalist order, however comfortably ‘bourgeois’ it may at times be.

The article by James D. Ingram is here: Lumpenproletariat

[I know you will shoot the messenger on this. So it goes]

  • "I know you'll shoot the messenger" That's just bein' perseguido :)
    – Conrado
    Jan 16 at 18:26
  • 1
    Persiguida, Conrado.
    – Lambie
    Jan 16 at 18:31
  • Lumpenproletariat is a term that is too deeply embedded in Marxist theory to be readily usable outside its framework. Also, it does not imply moving 'from the small city to the big one just to make own life better'.
    – jsw29
    Jan 16 at 22:40
  • @jsw29 Just because a word is associated with something does not reduce the validity of using it.
    – Lambie
    Jan 28 at 16:43

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