aris·​to·​crat | \ə-ˈris-tə-ˌkrat, a-;ˈa-rə-stə-\

Definition of aristocrat 

1 : a member of an aristocracy especially : noble an aristocrat by birth

2a : one who has the bearing and viewpoint typical of the aristocracy

b : one who favors aristocracy

3 : one believed to be superior of its kind the aristocrat of Southern resortsSouthern Living

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Did You Know?

Since aristos means "best" in Greek, ancient Greeks such as Plato and Aristotle used the word aristocracy to mean a system of rule by the best people—that is, those who deserved to rule because of their intelligence and moral excellence. But this kind of "best" soon became something you could inherit from your parents. The United States has no formal aristocracy—no noble titles such as baron or marquis that stay in the family—but certain American families have achieved an almost aristocratic status because of the wealth they've held onto for generations.

Examples of aristocrat in a Sentence

could trace his lineage to an English aristocrat of the 17th century

Recent Examples on the Web

All of which goes to show that with a little imagination, anyone can look like a French aristocrat. Rachel Hahn, Vogue, "Violet Chachki Has a Dior-Meets-Marie Antoinette Corset Moment on Instagram," 13 June 2018 But the five-times champions will be wary of the team that staged a remarkable comeback against European aristocrats Barcelona in the last eight, overcoming a 4-1 first-leg deficit to progress to their first European Cup semi-final in 34 years. Kieran Canning,, "Liverpool's Salah aims to shoot down Roma in Champions League semi," 24 Apr. 2018 Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, was a French aristocrat who fought with the Continental Army during the American Revolution. Cincinnati Enquirer,, "Our history: Thousands welcomed war hero Lafayette in 1825," 20 June 2018 Through June 3, 2018 Get up-close-and-personal with royals, aristocrats and wealthy citizens of Europe through grand, full-length portraits at the Dutch national museum this spring. Sarah Maiellano, USA TODAY, "The best European museum exhibits for spring 2018," 23 Apr. 2018 There’s no evidence that the two artists ever met, but Ugo would have been nothing without Da Vinci — just another minor aristocrat’s kid, buying and selling rural real estate in the Po Valley before opening a printer’s shop in the big city. Christopher Knight,, "Out of the shadows and into the light: 'Chiaroscuro Woodcut' is a sleeper hit at LACMA," 5 July 2018 Before the 350-year-old estate became a hotel, several aristocrats and even a royal called it home. Diana Pearl,, "Meghan Markle Arrives at Hotel with Mom and Says She's Feeling 'Wonderful' on Royal Wedding Eve," 18 May 2018 Many operas deal with gods and goddesses — perhaps because the aristocrats and royalty who often commissioned them wished to see themselves as such. Domenica Bongiovanni, Indianapolis Star, "Indy Opera will perform a major opera about love, written by a composer known for cheating," 16 May 2018 Patrick is fabulously wealthy; his father, David (Hugo Weaving—brilliantly, fabulously awful), is a minor aristocrat, while his mother (Jennifer Jason Leigh) is an heiress. Sonia Saraiya, HWD, "Review: Benedict Cumberbatch Shines as Drug-Addled Aristocrat Patrick Melrose," 9 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'aristocrat.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of aristocrat

1787, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for aristocrat

see aristocracy

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Statistics for aristocrat

Last Updated

8 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for aristocrat

The first known use of aristocrat was in 1787

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More Definitions for aristocrat



English Language Learners Definition of aristocrat

: a member of an aristocracy


aris·​to·​crat | \ə-ˈri-stə-ˌkrat, ˈer-ə-stə-\

Kids Definition of aristocrat

: a member of an aristocracy

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full of whispering sounds

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