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hoi polloi

[hoi puh-loi] /ˈhɔɪ pəˈlɔɪ/
noun
1.
the common people; the masses (often preceded by the).
Origin
1815-1825
1815-25; < Greek: the many
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for hoi polloi

hoi polloi

/ˌhɔɪ pəˈlɔɪ/
plural noun
1.
(often derogatory) the masses; common people
Word Origin
Greek, literally: the many
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for hoi polloi

1837, from Greek hoi polloi (plural) "the people," literally "the many" (plural of polys; see poly-). Used in Greek by Dryden (1668) and Byron (1822), in both cases preceded by the, even though Greek hoi means "the," a mistake repeated often by subsequent writers, who at least have the excuse of ignorance of Greek.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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hoi polloi in Culture
hoi polloi [(hoy puh-loy)]

The masses, the ordinary folk; the phrase is often used in a derogatory way to refer to a popular preference or incorrect opinion: “The hoi polloi may think that Fitzgerald is a great director, but those who know about film realize that his work is commercial and derivative.” From Greek, meaning “the many.”

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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