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The Canine in Conversation
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people (mostly silhouetted) waving signs around a fire
figure 1  

 

canaille. The mob, the masses of the people; the proletariat. Rabble; riffraff. From the Italian, canaglia, meaning “pack of dogs.”reference 1

This term has fallen out of use in the past century and even in its heyday it appears to have required some explanation. On April 23, 1899, the Galveston Daily News ran a story about conditions in Hawaii, “The Wild Effort to Hooleyize Us.”  It described the missionaries’ sons as “a very ill-bred canille” and felt compelled to add “rabble” in parenthesis, just in case you didn’t know the meaning of the word.reference 2

1. The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth. 2000. Bartleby.com. Accessed from http:// www.bartleby.com/.

2. The Wild Effort to Hooleyize Us. 1899. Galveston Daily News, Apr 23, 1.

 

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About the illustration: Figure 1 shows a group of protesters, strikers, or some other form of proletariat riffraff. © 2008 Jupiterimages Corporation  
see also: pack mentality
cf:
cowardice of curs
Last updated: January 8, 2010
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