Simple Definition of hoi polloi
: ordinary people : people who are not rich, famous, etc.
Full Definition of hoi polloi
: the general populace : masses
Examples of hoi polloi in a sentence
<“I pay no attention to the opinions of the hoi polloi,” the writer sniffed>
Did You Know?
In Greek, hoi polloi means simply "the many". (Even though hoi itself means "the", in English we almost always say "the hoi polloi".) It comes originally from the famous Funeral Oration by Pericles, where it was actually used in a positive way. Today it's generally used by people who think of themselves as superior—though it's also sometimes used in Pericles' democratic spirit. By the way, it has no relation to hoity-toity, meaning "stuck-up", which starts with the same sound but has nothing to do with Greek.
Origin and Etymology of hoi polloi
Greek, the many
First Known Use: 1837
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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hoi polloi
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