hoi polloi :

hoi polloi

Hoi polloi is Greek for “the common people,” but it is often misused tomean “the upper class” (does “hoi” make speakers think of “high” or"hoity-toity"?). Some urge that since “hoi” is the article “the hoipolloi” is redundant; but the general rule is that articles such as"the” and “a” in foreign language phrases cease to function as such inplace names, brands, and catch phrases except for some of the mostfamiliar ones in French and Spanish, where everyone recognizes “la"—forinstance—as meaning “the.” “The El Nino” is redundant, but “the hoipolloi” is standard English.

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News & Articles

  • Meet the French DJ Who Ruined the Hamptons' Fourth of July
    The good people of the Hamptons, the Shangri-La beachside escape for New Yorkers of means and linen pants, were cruelly let down this weekend when Cedric Gervais, a famous French DJ, failed to show up and play his one really famous song, which involves no live instruments and is just a thinly-veiled reference to the drug Ecstasy. Even worse, he ditched them for the Midwestern hoi polloi of ...
    July 8, 2013 - The Atlantic Wire via Yahoo! News
  • Phil Reisman: Summer solstice a delightful break from all that's depressing
    Driving to work Friday, I saw a woman walking down Main Street in White Plains holding a sky-blue parasol, which is what the pale Victorians carried when sun-darkened skin was equated, unfavorably, with the working hoi polloi.
    June 23, 2013 - The Journal News