great unwashed

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Attributed by many to Edmund Burke, the first published use of the phrase was by Edward Bulwer-Lytton in a dedicatory epistle for 1830, Paul Clifford.[1]

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

great unwashed pl (plural only)

  1. (idiomatic, derogatory) The general populace, particularly the working class.
    • 1995, Christina Blizzard, Right Turn: How the Tories Took Ontario
      The Liberal campaign was so carefully orchestrated that McLeod was never in a position to be confronted by the great unwashed. Unfortunately, the great unwashed rarely vote for a leader whom they have never met.

Synonyms[edit]

Translations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 1835, The Complete Works of E. L. Bulwer, Volume 7: Paul Clifford, page 14