Look, I know that the phrase hoi polloi is Ancient Greek, and that the hoi means the, and I realise that saying the hoi polloi is technically saying the the masses, but I still maintain that someone who leaves out the the when using the phrase (as in 'eating peas with their forks upside down, like hoi polloi'), as some people have recently begun to do, only reveals them to have little understanding of the illogical glory that is the English language (the al in alkaline, for example, means the, and so does the la in lariat) -
- and to be Grade A pompous dorks, as well.
Phrase Not To Use Today: hoi polloi. The trouble with this phrase is that it implies that the great majority of the people are vulgar, ignorant, and probably unwashed. And that's not only untrue, but unkind, as well...
...except, apparently, in the USA, where hoi polloi seems to be coming to mean the elite.
Unfortunately this makes hoi polloi even less useful as a phrase, as now no one will know whether they're being insulted or flattered, and what's the point of that?
Hoi polloi is Greek (οἱ πολλοί). It means the many, or the majority.