The `oi’ in the two words is pronounced like the `oi’ in `oil’, `boil’, and `toil’. The `o’ in the first syllable of `polloi’ is like the `a’ in `china’. Both `hoi’ and `loi’ are stressed. In Greek `hoi’ means `the’ and `polloi’ means `many’. The term is normally used to refer to the common people — the working class. We are not thinking of the rich, or the highly educated class when we talk about the hoi polloi. Some people find this term offensive. Since the word `hoi’ means `the’, people who have studied Greek argue that we shouldn’t say `the hoi polloi’. But `the hoi polloi’ has become firmly established in English.
*The entry fee was kept very high to keep the hoi polloi out.