Home > B Words > blue-collar


Definition of Blue-collar

(adjective) Relating to manual work or workers; working class.

Blue-collar Pronunciation

Pronunciation Usage Guide

Syllabification: blue col·lar

Audio Pronunciation

– American English
– British English

Phonetic Spelling

  • American English – /blOO-kAHl-uhr/
  • British English – /blOO-ko-luh/

International Phonetic Alphabet

  • American English – /ˈbluˈˌkɑlər/
  • British English – /ˌbluːˈkɒlə/

Usage Notes

  • Plural: blue-collars
  • Blue-collar is a reference to the durable blue denim shirts historically worn by manual laborers, referred to as blue-collar workers.
  • The earliest listing for “blue-collar” in the Oxford English Dictionary is in 1929.
  • “Blue-collar” is often used in a derogatory sense to indicate lower socioeconomic status to others. Conversely, it is used to indicate pride in ones own status.
  • Blue-collar is contrasted to white-collar.
  • Variant spellings:
    • blue collar
    • bluecollar
  • Also called:
    • wage-earning
    • working class

Related Video

Additional Information

Related Terms

Works Consulted

Abercrombie, Nicholas, Stephen Hill, and Bryan Turner. 2006. The Penguin Dictionary of Sociology. 5th ed. London: Penguin.

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. 5th ed. 2011. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Bruce, Steve, and Steven Yearley. 2006. The SAGE Dictionary of Sociology. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

Ferris, Kerry, and Jill Stein. 2010. The Real World: An Introduction to Sociology. 2nd ed. New York: Norton.

Merriam-Webster. (N.d.) Merriam-Webster Dictionary. (http://www.merriam-webster.com/).

Oxford University Press. (N.d.) Oxford Dictionaries. (https://www.oxforddictionaries.com/).

Princeton University. 2010. WordNet. (https://wordnet.princeton.edu/).

Random House Webster’s College Dictionary. 1997. New York: Random House.

Scott, John, and Gordon Marshall. 2005. A Dictionary of Sociology. New York: Oxford University Press.

Turner, Bryan S., ed. 2006. The Cambridge Dictionary of Sociology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation. (https://en.wikipedia.org/).

Cite the Definition of Blue-Collar

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “blue-collar.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved June 23, 2024 (https://sociologydictionary.org/blue-collar/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

blue-collar. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/blue-collar/

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “blue-collar.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed June 23, 2024. https://sociologydictionary.org/blue-collar/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“blue-collar.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 23 Jun. 2024. <https://sociologydictionary.org/blue-collar/>.