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Hoi polloi

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Frequent Typos for Hoi polloi

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1 Comments on Hoi polloi

Oops. Common error: Dictionary: hoi polloi (hoi\' pÉ™-loi\') The comomn people; the masses.[Greek, the many : hoi, nominative pl. of ho, the + polloi, nominative pl. of polus, many.]USAGE NOTE Hoi polloi is a borrowing of the Greek phrase hoi polloi, consisting of hoi, meaning the and used before a plural, and polloi, the plural of polus, many. In Greek hoi polloi had a special sense, the greater number, the people, the comomnalty, the masses. This phrase has generally expressed this meaning in English since its first recorded instance, in an 1837 work by James Fenimore Cooper. Hoi polloi is sometimes incorrectly used to mean the elite, possibly because it is reminiscent of high and mighty or because it sounds like hoity-toity. Since the Greek phrase includes an article, some critics have argued that the phrase the hoi polloi is redundant. But phrases borrowed from other languages are often reanalyzed in English as single words. For example, a number of Arabic noun phrases were borrowed into English as simple nouns. The Arabic element al means the, and appears in English nouns such as alcohol and alchemy. Thus, since no one would consider a phrase such as the alcohol to be redundant, criticizing the hoi polloi on similar grounds seems pedantic.
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