Hoi Polloi

Always sounds wrong to me, sounds like it should mean the elite (whatever that means, old money I suppose).

We had this thread on the old boards but I don’t think it went especially well. Let’s see what happens this time.

Last time I began it with annexe, sounds like it should mean jettisoning or cutting off.


Also I think desert and dessert should be spelt the other way round.

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Is your reasoning for this that you currently always get them the wrong way round?

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Do you think it should me flora?

Yes. But I’m sure other people do too.

I just think it should be a word that sounds a bit more animal-y

It could easily - this distinction is basically arbitrary, and if there is a reason for it it’s been lost to time!

Yeah, and probably loads that aren’t even aware of their mistake. At least you’re aware of it and wish to make both yourself and the world a better place for it.

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Hoi polloi sort of chimes in my mind with hoity-toity, so I see where you’re coming from with that one!

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jai alai

Matt Berry uses it that way in ‘Matt Berry Does the Boat Race’ and it really gets me chuckling:


wait that isn’t what it means

I’m not sure what you mean.

I know he’s not everyone’s favourite person but I watched some episodes of Toast the other night and :smiley:

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It’s the same word as poly.

Would it blow your mind if I told you that any point after about Alexander the Great, it was (and is in Greece), pronounced “i polli”.

Etymology makes it all clear.

I don’t know if I would say that fact blew mind mind, that might be a bit strong but it certainly is interesting.

Do you know of any good books on language, something like those “popular science” books but for language?

‘οι = masculine plural the. Pronounced “hoi” in Socrates’ time (5th century BC), “i” like Italian after that. They just never changed the spelling, because it keeps the grammar clear.
πολλοι = plural masculine version of πολύς/πολλή/πολύ- many, lots, big, much, a lot.

Greek for Happy Birthday is χρόνια πολλά. Lots of years.

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Tbh I have no idea. It’s what I studied at university.