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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
Dictionary.com Unabridged
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
hoi polloi
1837, from Gk. hoi polloi (pl.) "the people," lit. "the many" (pl. of polys). Used in Gk. by Dryden (1668) and Byron (1822), in both cases preceded by the, even though Gk. hoi means "the," a mistake repeated often by subsequent writers, who at least have the excuse of ignorance of Gk.
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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