[uhn-wosht, -wawsht]


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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for unwashed

Contemporary Examples of unwashed

Historical Examples of unwashed

  • Unwashed and unshaven, he saunters moodily about, weary and dejected.

  • I was raked in by that adjective fool with the unwashed face.

  • The man was unwashed and unfed, and for many nights he had not slept.

    Murder Point

    Coningsby Dawson

  • Dirty finger-prints were on the hall-windows, flue and rubbish on its unwashed boards.

    Howards End

    E. M. Forster

  • It lit his unshaven face from his unwashed brow to his chin.

British Dictionary definitions for unwashed



not washed

pl n

the great unwashed jocular, derogatory 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

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