Usage and meanings of hoi polloi
- Family-owned businesses that select their CEOs from all family members fare no worse than companies that select talent from hoi polloi.
- —The Wilson Quarterly
- A third, more readily acceptable innovation, was the new taste for whiskey as a drink, first for the hoi polloi and ultimately for the gentry.
- —Jacques Barzun
- … rented mainly to corporations to allow their VIPs air-conditioned splendor high above the hoi polloi.
- —James B. Twitchell
- … I could fly over to Europe and join the rich hoi polloi, at Monte Carlo.
- —Westwood Pegler
- Most of the hoi polloi and VIPs who move and shake New York went first to a book party for Time's former headman, Henry Grunwald, in the New York Public Library.
- —Liz Smith
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
First Known Use: 1837See Words from the same year
HOI POLLOI Defined for English Language Learners
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