Tag Archives: opposite meanings

Hoi Polloi – hoity toity, low-class, the many?

This is an interesting term, because it is occasionally used to express opposite ideas. Greek for ‘the many’, in English it used as a term for ‘the masses’ or ‘ordinary’ people (often derogatory). However, it is also occasionally used to mean the ‘upper-crust’ – the exact opposite of its Greek meaning. How did that happen? I’m interested in finding similar phrases that are used in opposite contexts. If you have any to share, please post them here!

hoipolloi

(Hoi Polloi poster from dvdtalk.com)