\ ā-ˈlēt How to pronounce elite (audio) , i-, ē- \

Definition of elite

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a 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 changingEconomist
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 pluralthe elites …, pursuing their studies in Europe— Robert Wernick
2 : a typewriter type providing 12 characters to the linear inch



Definition of elite (Entry 2 of 3)

: of, relating to, serving, or being part of an elite seeking to attain elite status an elite group an elite institution/school often : superior in quality, rank, skill, etc. an elite performer an elite athlete an athlete with elite skills The elite chess players of today are of no school. They hail from all over the world … — Garry Kasparov

élite, élitism

Definition of élite (Entry 3 of 3)

chiefly British spellings of , elitism

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Examples of elite in a Sentence

Noun the winners of this science award represent the elite of our high schools the country's elite owned or controlled most of the wealth
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The field is dominated by an elite, primarily white male workforce, and it is controlled and funded primarily by large industry players—Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, IBM, and yes, Google. Alex Hanna, Wired, "Timnit Gebru’s Exit From Google Exposes a Crisis in AI," 31 Dec. 2020 In his 18th season, James remains among the elite and has a rare opportunity in his mid-30s to add one more MVP to his accomplishments. Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY, "As LeBron James turns 36 today, is this his last best chance to win regular-season MVP?," 30 Dec. 2020 Notre Dame managed just 248 yards in a 30-3 loss that cued the chorus of doubts the historic superpower had a place among modern-day elite. Michael Casagrande | Mcasagrande@al.com, al, "Does Notre Dame have something to prove after high-profile flops? Irish sick of ‘narrative.’," 30 Dec. 2020 Among the white elite there are undercover allies who both hide Others and work with them toward an uprising with the aim of overthrowing the evil regime. Star Tribune, "Review: 'Crosshairs,' by Catherine Hernandez," 24 Dec. 2020 Toronto is one star away from being back among the conference's elite. J. Michael, The Indianapolis Star, "How Indiana Pacers stack up in improved Eastern Conference for 2020-21 season," 22 Dec. 2020 This impulse goes back to the Founding itself, when the Patriots became convinced that a vast transcontinental conspiracy to rob them of their liberties was being orchestrated by a shadowy, distant elite: the British parliament. Cameron Hilditch, National Review, "Christianity as Ideology: The Cautionary Tale of the Jericho March," 18 Dec. 2020 Building on the resurgent literature on slavery and capitalism, Wells deftly captures the ways Manhattan’s financial elite, such as Moses Taylor—head of what became today’s Citibank—advocated for slaveholders’ interests. Eric Herschthal, The New Republic, "The Elusive Promise of the Underground Railroad," 7 Dec. 2020 Property from the Randi Rahm Archive, an exclusive collection of iconic couture gowns worn by Hollywood's elite, such as Beyoncé, Mariah Carey and Christina Aguilera, will be up for auction next month. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "Iconic Gowns Worn by Beyoncé, Mariah Carey & Christina Aguilera to Be Auctioned Off," 18 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'elite.' 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 elite


1738, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1808, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for elite


French élite, from Old French eslite, from feminine of eslit, past participle of eslire to choose, from Latin eligere

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Time Traveler for elite

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The first known use of elite was in 1738

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Last Updated

18 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Elite.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/elite. Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for elite


How to pronounce élite (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of elite

: the people who have the most wealth and status in a society : the most successful or powerful group of people
US : a person who is a member of an elite : a successful and powerful person

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