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hoi polloi

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English

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Etymology

From Ancient Greek οἱ (hoi), the (plural)), and πολλοί (polloi), many).

Pronunciation

Noun

Singular
hoi polloi

Plural
-

hoi polloi (-) (collective noun)
  1. The common people; the masses.
  2. (nonstandard) The elite (hoi oligoi).

Usage notes

  • As hoi represents a definite article in Ancient Greek, some authorities consider that the construction the hoi polloi is redundant and should not be used in English.
  • Confusingly, the second definition is opposed to the first; it arose from a misunderstanding of the term, probably under influence of such terms as hoity-toity.

Synonyms

Translations

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