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'?
This 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.