- the common people; the masses (often preceded by the).
Origin of hoi polloi
Related Words for hoi polloiinfrastructure, masses, multitude, proletariat, rabble, riffraff, commonality, vulgus
Examples from the Web for hoi polloi
Historical Examples of hoi polloi
No use letting the "hoi-polloi" get on to it that I was a greenhorn.An American Hobo in Europe
This was to be a plush project for big spenders, with Vegas and Reno reserved for the hoi-polloi.Mars Confidential
As was well known, when Harris Collins performed he performed only for the élite, for the hoi-polloi of the trained-animal world.Michael, Brother of Jerry
- often derogatory the masses; common people
Word Origin for hoi polloi
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.
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.”