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éminence grise

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noun émi·nence grise \ā-mē-näⁿs-ˈgrēz\

Definition of éminence grise

plural éminences grises \same\

  1. 1 :  a confidential agent; especially :  one exercising unsuspected or unofficial power

  2. 2 :  a respected authority; specifically :  elder statesman <the éminence grise of classical music>



Examples of éminence grise

  1. <the revered éminence grise of Civil War historians>



Origin of éminence grise

French, literally, gray eminence, nickname of Père Joseph (François du Tremblay) †1638 French monk and diplomat, confidant of Cardinal Richelieu who was known as Éminence Rouge red eminence; from the colors of their respective habits


First Known Use: 1925


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