hoi polloi
noun plural Etymology: Greek, the many Date: 1837 the general populace ; masses

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.

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  • Hoi polloi — (Greek: ), an expression meaning the many (literally: the citizens ) in Greek is used in English to denote the masses or the people , usually in a derogatory sense. For example, I ve secured a private box for the play so we don t have to watch… …   Wikipedia

  • hoi polloi — The normal construction is the hoi polloi, meaning ‘the masses, the common people’. The fact that hoi in the original Greek expression (literally ‘the many’) already means ‘the’ is therefore ignored; objection to this now seems pedantic, is… …   Modern English usage

  • hoi polloi — 1837, from Gk. hoi polloi (pl.) the people, lit. the many (pl. of polys; see POLY (Cf. poly )). Used in Greek by Dryden (1668) and Byron (1822), in both cases preceded by the, even though Gk. hoi means the, a mistake repeated often by subsequent… …   Etymology dictionary

  • hoi polloi — [hoi′pə loi′] n. [Gr, lit., the many] the common people; the masses: usually patronizing or contemptuous: sometimes preceded by the …   English World dictionary

  • hoi polloi — [n] the masses commonality, commoners, common people, rank and file, the herd, the multitude, the proletariat, the working class; concepts 379,417 …   New thesaurus

  • hoi polloi — ► PLURAL NOUN derogatory ▪ the common people. ORIGIN Greek, the many …   English terms dictionary

  • hoi polloi — /hɔɪ pəˈlɔɪ / (say hoy puh loy) noun the, the common people; the masses: *she should on no account travel down to Sydney with the hoi polloi aboard the packet. –peter carey, 1988. {Greek oi the + polloi many} Usage: This Greek borrowing… …   Australian English dictionary

  • hoi polloi — This is a Greek term meaning the masses, the many. If you use it, do not say the hoi polloi, because hoi is Greek for the : This dictator thinks of everyone in the country as hoi polloi …   Dictionary of problem words and expressions

  • hoi polloi —    Two problems here. The first is that hoi polloi means the masses, the common populace, and not the elite, as is often thought. The second problem is that in Greek hoi means the so to speak of the hoi polloi is tantamount to saying the the… …   Dictionary of troublesome word

  • hoi polloi — [[t]hɔ͟ɪ pəlɔ͟ɪ[/t]] N PLURAL If someone refers to the hoi polloi, they are referring in a humorous or rather rude way to ordinary people, in contrast to rich, well educated, or upper class people. Monstrously inflated costs are designed to keep… …   English dictionary

  • hoi polloi — [ˌhɔɪ pɒ lɔɪ] plural noun derogatory the common people. Origin C17: Gk, lit. the many . Usage Strictly speaking, the phrase hoi polloi translates as ‘the many’. Some traditionalists insist that it should not be used with the, since that would be… …   English new terms dictionary

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