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The meaning and origin of the expression: The great unwashed

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The great unwashed

What's the meaning of the phrase 'The great unwashed'?

The common, lower classes; the hoi polloi.

What's the origin of the phrase 'The great unwashed'?

The great unwashedThis rather disparaging term was coined by the Victorian novelist and playwright Edward Bulwer-Lytton. He used it in his 1830 novel Paul Clifford:

"He is certainly a man who bathes and ‘lives cleanly’, (two especial charges preferred against him by Messrs. the Great Unwashed)."

See also, it was a dark and stormy night.

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