poor white trash

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First attested in 1835.


poor white trash (uncountable)

  1. (US, obsolete, ethnic slur, used by black slaves) White person or people employed in a servile position, for example, as a butler.
    • 1835 May 30, The London Literary Gazette; and Journal of Belles Lettres, Arts, Sciences, &c.of the collected Literary Gazette [] for the year 1835[1], number 958, London, page 338:
      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, derogatory, ethnic slur) White trash; poor, uneducated white person or people of low social status.

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