hoi polloi

[ hoi puh-loi ]
/ ˈhɔɪ pəˈlɔɪ /

plural noun

Often the hoi polloi . the common people; the masses.

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Origin of hoi polloi

First recorded in 1835–40; written in Greek letters in 1668 ; from Greek hoi polloí “the many”
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Example sentences from the Web for hoi polloi

  • No use letting the "hoi-polloi" get on to it that I was a greenhorn.

  • This was to be a plush project for big spenders, with Vegas and Reno reserved for the hoi-polloi.

  • As was well known, when Harris Collins performed he performed only for the élite, for the hoi-polloi of the trained-animal world.

British Dictionary definitions for hoi polloi

hoi polloi
/ (ˌhɔɪ pəˈlɔɪ) /

pl n

often derogatory the masses; common people

Word Origin for hoi polloi

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

Cultural definitions for hoi polloi

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 New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.