of the Day
Clue of the Month
polloi: The common people; the masses
clue: ___ polloi; Polloi preceder
2 times a year
in English language:
67867 / 86800
For the Common Man
polloi, 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 the show with hoi polloi."
Synonyms for "hoi polloi" include "...commoners,
great unwashed, minions, multitude, plebeians, proletariat,
rabble, rank and file, riffraff, the common people, the herd, the
many, the masses, the peons, the working class".
phrase became known to English scholars probably from Pericles'
Funeral Oration, as mentioned in Thucydides' History of the
Peloponnesian War. Pericles uses it in a positive way when
praising the Athenian democracy, contrasting it with hoi oligoi,
current English usage originated in the early 19th century, a
time when it was generally accepted one must know Greek and Latin
in order to be well educated. The phrase was originally written
in Greek letters. Knowledge of these languages would serve to set
apart the speaker from the common people who did not have that
phrase has been the source of controversy over its correct usage.
There has been debate as to whether it is correct usage to
include the English article "the" in front of the
phrase, as is commonly done.
article is licensed under the GNU
Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia
article "Hoi polloi".