We're working on a new site. Click here to get a sneak preview.


noun \ā-ˈlēt, i-, ē-\

: the people who have the most wealth and status in a society : the most successful or powerful group of people

: a person who is a member of an elite : a successful and powerful person

Full Definition of ELITE

a singular or plural in construction :  the choice part :  cream <the elite of the entertainment world>
b singular or plural in construction :  the best of a class <superachievers who dominate the computer elite — Marilyn Chase>
c singular or plural in construction :  the socially superior part of society <how the French-speaking elite…was changing — Economist>
d :  a group of persons who by virtue of position or education exercise much power or influence <members of the ruling elite>
e :  a member of such an elite —usually used in plural <the elites … , pursuing their studies in Europe — Robert Wernick>
:  a typewriter type providing 12 characters to the linear inch
elite adjective

Examples of ELITE

  1. <the winners of this science award represent the elite of our high schools>
  2. <the country's elite owned or controlled most of the wealth>

Origin of ELITE

French élite, from Old French eslite, from feminine of eslit, past participle of eslire to choose, from Latin eligere
First Known Use: 1823




élite, élit·ism

Definition of ÉLITE

chiefly British variant of elite, elitism


Next Word in the Dictionary: elite seedPrevious Word in the Dictionary: elisionAll Words Near: elite
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears