Great Unwashed


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the great unwashed

The general public, especially those of the lower and lower-middle classes. The film didn't cause too great a stir with the great unwashed, but it has been considered a milestone in cinematic achievement among film critics and scholars. The world of the super rich is one that we among the great unwashed can't even begin to understand.
See also: great, unwashed

Great Unwashed

A disparaging term for the common man. The phrase first appeared in an 1830 novel, Paul Clifford, by the British novelist and playwright Edward Bulwer-Lytton: “He is certainly a man who bathes and ‘lives cleanly,' (two especial charges preferred against him by Messrs. the Great Unwashed).” Among other cynics (although they would call themselves realists) who used the phrase was H. L. Mencken, who also referred to the majority of Americans as the “booboisie.”
See also: great, unwashed
References in periodicals archive ?
As the Great Unwashed shuffled into the sunset, everyone agreed Murray had given a fine account of himself, and refugees from that embankment - jam-packed with up to 6,000 fans - will all have tales to tell of their day on Roger Ridge.
On my last trip home we received my mother in law's pension confirmation form asking that she visit in person to confirm she was alive or send an affidavit signed by a Class I gazette officer (as if the rest of us were the great unwashed as compared to these gazetted guys, whatever that means) attesting that she was still a-okay.
5kg, the nuvo guy is ready to go to new institutional or industrial homes right now for a cool [yen]3 million, but ZMP plans to make it available to the great unwashed for about a half million yen.
Fairchild would like his particular perspective to get broader coverage; Barlow assumes that the great unwashed are too dumb, busy, or lazy to be proactive enough to be well-informed citizens on a wide range of issues.
One other set of players in this drama is the wealthy north Casey Key residents who cynics say won't ever let the pass be reopened because that would also reopen their neighborhood to the great unwashed.
Terrorism raises the possibility that to get their Cipro or smallpox shots, Quinn and Dowd would have to fight their neighbors along with the great unwashed likely to be piled up already at the local emergency room--an unpalatable situation for anyone, but especially for those accustomed to being above the fray.
It's a vestige of patrician politics, the old, elitist view that the great unwashed masses are not to be fully trusted.
It is almost as though the purveyors of talk are concerned only with their influence on their peers and neighbors without being concerned about the great unwashed masses beyond the Potomac.
Some parts of our benighted islands consider us English great unwashed, as infidels in our own country.
But so dazzled and mesmerised are we, the hoi polloi, the great unwashed, by the rich and famous that we convince ourselves that once a person becomes a celebrity then they must, by definition, have descended the mountain weighed down with tablets of insight, wit and wisdom.
We should give the Royal couple more latitude to integrate with the great unwashed in this new millennium.
But the mask slipped when he showed in his Margaret Thatcher lecture the Bullingdon Boy's contempt for what he, as a classical scholar, might call the hoi polloi, the Ancient Greek's term for the Great Unwashed.
It could have been: "Thank you I will take that for my dad, he likes to see what the great unwashed hoi-polloi keep as trinkets.