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 ?
Not concerned by the negative overtones of the literary phrase, for him the great unwashed becomes a fitting description of the masses as he exalts in the humanity that makes them great.
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.
Views that before would have been aired only in betting shops are now in the public domain, to the huge annoyance of the racing industry, who regard us, I am sure, as the great unwashed.
Which leads to the real point: When will the fast followers realize that Toyota has won this PR war, and that all the eco-weenies really care about is that the great unwashed masses bow before their superior environmental awareness while they savage Detroit for its shortsightedness and inability to lead?
Do the great unwashed not understand that we have a Charter?
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.
He was a beatnik when he joined - one of the great unwashed.
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.
However, even if the great unwashed were unaware of such practices it seems a singularly inept name to give a day on which punters are encouraged to empty their coffers for the express purpose of making the Season of Goodwill a happier time - for purveyors of merchandise at least.
Dishing the dirt on the great unwashed HAS anyone else noticed, that fewer and fewer people wash their hands after using the toilets?
We, the English great unwashed, will pay for all this through regional government, handed down to us from London.