great unwashed, the

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.
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the great unwashed

Fig. the general public; the lower middle class. The Simpsons had a tall iron fence around their mansion—put there to discourage the great unwashed from wandering up to the door by mistake, I suppose. Maw says the great unwashed don't know enough to come in out of the rain.
See also: great, unwashed

the great unwashed

People use the great unwashed to mean poor or ordinary people. A man quickly led the Queen's husband away from the great unwashed. Note: This expression is used humorously.
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the great unwashed

n. most of the common people; the hoi polloi. I usually find myself more in agreement with the great unwashed than with the elite.
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great unwashed, the

The working classes. The term showed up in print in the early nineteenth century in Theodore Hook’s The Parson’s Daughter (1833), where it appears in quotation marks. Exactly who first coined the phrase is not known, but in Britain it was used to describe the rabble of the French Revolution who rose up against the privileged classes. Although Eric Partridge said that its snobbishness had made it obsolescent by the 1940s, it is still used ironically.
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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