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the man/woman on the Clapham omnibus

A person imagined as representative of an ordinary or typical British person and their opinions, values, and habits. Primarily heard in UK. Downing Street is always trying to gauge the position of the man on the Clapham omnibus.
See also: Clapham, man, omnibus, on, woman
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

the man on the Clapham omnibus

When people talk about the man on the Clapham omnibus, they mean ordinary, average people. The wealthy and powerful never liked the man on the Clapham omnibus knowing about their lives. Note: Clapham is an area of London, and `omnibus' is an old-fashioned word for bus.
See also: Clapham, man, omnibus, on
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

the man on the Clapham omnibus

the average man, especially with regard to his opinions. British
This expression is attributed to the English judge Lord Bowen ( 1835–94 ), who used it as a metaphor for any ordinary reasonable person—such as a juror is expected to be. Clapham is a district in south London.
See also: Clapham, man, omnibus, on
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in classic literature ?
Jerry finished his soup, set the child across, and then took his orders to drive to Clapham Rise.
It happened that they had made the acquaintance of two young ladies in employment in Clapham, Miss Flossie Bright and Miss Edna Bunthorne, and it was resolved therefore to make a cheerful little cyclist party of four into the heart of Kent, and to picnic and spend an indolent afternoon and evening among the trees and bracken between Ashford and Maidstone.
Miss Bunthorne, whom Bert particularly affected, could not ride, and so with some difficulty he hired a basket- work trailer from the big business of Wray's in the Clapham Road.
We're late for dinner as it is, so it won't make much difference for us to go home by way of Clapham. We've got to get to Surbiton, anyhow.
He did trace them easily to Clapham, but no further; for on entering that place, they removed into a hackney coach, and dismissed the chaise that brought them from Epsom.
It was impossible to abandon her to solitude at Limmeridge after Laura and I had both left the house, and we have arranged that she is to live with an unmarried younger sister of hers, who keeps a school at Clapham. She is to come here this autumn to visit her pupil--I might almost say her adopted child.
All this hill down to the river, and back to Clapham, and up to the edge of the common.
"I have faced as many murderers in County Clare as you ever fought with in Clapham junction, Mr.
The early train is due at Victoria at 8.28, but these worthies left it at Clapham Junction, and changed cabs more than once between Battersea and Piccadilly, and a few of their garments in each four-wheeler.
In fact, it is an old-fashioned house, very English and very suburban in the good old wealthy Clapham sense.
Swishtail's, Sugar-cane Lodge, and little Matilda to Miss Peckover's, Laurentinum House, Clapham.
"Walked past him as though I had never set eyes on him in my life, and didn't then; took a hansom in the King's Road, and drove like the deuce to Clapham Junction; rushed on to the nearest platform, without a ticket, jumped into the first train I saw, got out at Twickenham, walked full tilt back to Richmond, took the District to Charing Cross, and here I am!
'You are the gentleman residing on Clapham Green,' resumed Bantam, 'who lost the use of his limbs from imprudently taking cold after port wine; who could not be moved in consequence of acute suffering, and who had the water from the king's bath bottled at one hundred and three degrees, and sent by wagon to his bedroom in town, where he bathed, sneezed, and the same day recovered.
This is Clapham Junction, if I am not mistaken, and we shall be in Victoria in less than ten minutes.
John Robert Clapham became a Primitive Methodist Circuit Steward in 1892 following in his father's footsteps.