man in the street, the

man in the street

An average person. Just interview a man in the street so we can hear public sentiment about the new law.
See also: man, street

man in the street

Fig. the ordinary person. Politicians rarely care what the man in the street thinks. The man in the street has little interest in literature.
See also: man, street

man in the street

Also, woman in the street. An ordinary, average person, as in It will be interesting to see how the man in the street will answer that question. This expression came into use in the early 1800s when the votes of ordinary citizens began to influence public affairs. Today it is used especially in the news media, where reporters seek out the views of bystanders at noteworthy events, and by pollsters who try to predict the outcome of elections.
See also: man, street

the man in the street

or

the man on the street

COMMON When people talk about the man in the street or the man on the street, they mean ordinary, average people. If you asked the average man in the street to name just one geological structure, he would probably say: the San Andreas Fault. It was the man on the street who suffered as the value of his currency fell. Note: Words such as woman and person are sometimes used instead of man. It was described in terms that the ordinary man and woman in the street could understand. The information must be presented in a way that ordinary people in the street can understand.
See also: man, street

the man in (or on) the street

an ordinary person, usually with regard to their opinions, or as distinct from an expert.
A specifically British variation of this expression is the man on the Clapham omnibus (see below).
See also: man, street

the ˌman (and/or ˌwoman) in the ˈstreet

(British English also the man (and/or woman) on the ˌClapham ˈomnibus old-fashioned) an average or ordinary person, either male or female: You have to explain it in terms that the man in the street would understand.
See also: man, street

man in the street, the

The ordinary person, such as anyone might meet walking down the street. It is the views of such persons that pollsters seek in order to determine that elusive quantity, public opinion. This term dates from the early nineteenth century, when the opinions and thoughts of ordinary folk began, through elections, to influence the course of public events. Charles Fulke Greville used it sarcastically in his Memoirs (1831): “Knowing as ‘the man in the street’ (as we call him at Newmarket) always does, the greatest secrets of kings . . .” Ralph Waldo Emerson (Worship, 1860) also did not have a flattering view: “The man in the street does not know a star in the sky.” The modern news media—both print and electronic—continue to use the general public to flesh out their reports, frequently seeking the opinion of both male and female bystanders at events of importance.
See also: man