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[uhn-wosht, -wawsht] /ʌnˈwɒʃt, -ˈwɔʃt/
not cleaned or purified by or as if by washing:
unwashed dishes; the unwashed soul of a sinner.
pertaining to or characteristic of the common people; untutored, unsophisticated, or ignorant; plebeian:
the power of the unwashed electorate.
(used with a plural verb) an ignorant or lower-class group; rabble (usually preceded by the):
The author claimed that the unwashed would not understand his books.
Origin of unwashed
1350-1400; Middle English; see un-1, washed Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for unwashed
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Presently his eyes coming to themselves, confirmed the fact that he was in the midst of a notable number of the unwashed.

    Weighed and Wanting George MacDonald
  • I do hope not that story about the unwashed Boer and the cake of soap!

    The Dop Doctor Clotilde Inez Mary Graves
  • The man or youth—Tom could not guess which—writhed his way across the unwashed floor and halted at the table.

    With Wellington in Spain F. S. Brereton
  • unwashed and unshaven, he saunters moodily about, weary and dejected.

    Sunday under Three Heads Charles Dickens
  • Attend carefully: 'And let all the priests alone eat the inwards, unwashed with vinegar.'

    Frauds and Follies of the Fathers Joseph Mazzini Wheeler
British Dictionary definitions for unwashed


not washed
plural noun
(jocular, derogatory) the great unwashed, the masses
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 unwashed

late 14c., from un- (1) "not" + past participle of wash (v.). Noun sense of "the lower class" is attested from 1830.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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