poor white trash

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

First attested in 1835.

Noun[edit]

poor white trash (uncountable)

  1. (US, obsolete, ethnic slur, used by black slaves) White person or people who worked in (a) servile position(s), for example, as (a) butler(s).
    • 1835 May 30, The London Literary Gazette; and Journal of Belles Lettres, Arts, Sciences, &c., number 958; page 338 of the collected Literary Gazette [] for the year 1835 (published in London):
      In the south, there are no servants but blacks; for the greater proportion of domestics being slaves all species of servitude whatever is looked upon as a degradation; and the slaves themselves entertain the very highest contempt for white servants, whom they designate as ‘poor white trash.’
  2. (US, modern, pejorative, ethnic slur) White trash; poor, uneducated white person or people of low social status.

Derived terms[edit]