The Great Unwashed

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The Great Unwashed : Phrases


The common, lower classes; the hoi-polloi.



This rather disparaging term was coined by the Victorian novelist and playwright Edward Bulwer-Lytton. He used it in his 1830 novel Paul Clifford:

"He is certainly a man who bathes and ‘lives cleanly’, (two especial charges preferred against him by Messrs. the Great Unwashed)."

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