Phi Beta Kappa


Phi Be·​ta Kap·​pa ˌfī-ˌbā-tə-ˈka-pə How to pronounce Phi Beta Kappa (audio)
: a person winning high scholastic distinction in an American college or university and being elected to membership in a national honor society founded in 1776

Examples of Phi Beta Kappa in a Sentence

She belongs to Phi Beta Kappa. He made Phi Beta Kappa his sophomore year. He's a Phi Beta Kappa.
Recent Examples on the Web At the University of Florida, he was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa honors society and received a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1959. Robert D. McFadden, New York Times, 16 Apr. 2024 In 2019, the Phi Beta Kappa Society, which has almost 300 member colleges, rejected CNU’s request to set up a chapter on campus and encouraged the school to pursue greater diversity. Brandi Kellam, ProPublica, 22 Dec. 2023 Elected to Phi Beta Kappa in his junior year, Trey has also received the Lucy Allen Paton Prize for excellence in Humanities and the Fine Arts, which is awarded to members of Harvard University’s junior and senior classes who show great promise in these fields. Michael T. Nietzel, Forbes, 11 Dec. 2023 The 54-year-old banker graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Middlebury College and received an MBA from the Harvard Business School, before joining Morgan Stanley in 1990 at just 21 years old. Orianna Rosa Royle, Fortune, 26 Oct. 2023 To help keep track, everyone had a number and group: Leading pilots were the Phi Beta Kappa of Aviation; those who could not fly (including celebrities and politicians) were Kiwis; and the submarine units were Golden Dolphins. Nina Chhita, New York Times, 18 Sep. 2023 For years Blackstone has been known for hiring only the best, or those who graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Ivy League schools like Harvard or Yale. Luisa Beltran, Fortune, 20 Aug. 2023 The grand jury’s indictment is an indictment against Donald Trump, not the Phi Beta Kappa Society or the Council on Foreign Relations. Timothy Noah, The New Republic, 8 Aug. 2023 Ferguson grew up in Newton and graduated from the University of Southern California as a member of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society, records show. Ivy Scott,, 7 Aug. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'Phi Beta Kappa.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Phi Beta Kappa (Society), from phi + beta + kappa, initials of the society's Greek motto philosophia biou kybernētēs philosophy the guide of life

First Known Use

1854, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of Phi Beta Kappa was in 1854

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Cite this Entry

“Phi Beta Kappa.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 May. 2024.

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