April 12, 2023

APR 12, (re)duplication: hoi-polloi


Authors' Note
The (re)duplication hoi polloi derives from the ancient Greek term for 'the many'. This expression, like its close cousin riff-raff (also a reduplication), has been used in class-conscious England for severlal centuries; similar expressions, tinged with disparagement include plebeian, and the great unwashed In a recent inexplicable twist, as described by speedysnail, hoi polloi has come to be used, in some circumstances, to mean the exact opposite.

Readers willing to go down an internet rabbit-hole HERE can easily get to a collection of more than a dozen other short verses in which we have dealt with specific reduplications, as well as three fairly lengthy patter-songs about this fascinating linguistic phenomenon. 

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