elite

noun
\ 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 plural the elites …, pursuing their studies in Europe— Robert Wernick
2 : a typewriter type providing 12 characters to the linear inch

elite

adjective

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

On the men’s side, additional elites include American Shadrack Biwott (third place at Boston in 2018) and American Olympians Dathan Ritzenhein, Abdi Abdirahman, and Jared Ward. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "6 Things You Should Know Before Watching the 2019 Boston Marathon," 11 Apr. 2019 On terraces with views of the river, conversations among Cairo’s cultural elite switch seamlessly among Arabic, English, and French. Klara Glowczewska, Town & Country, "Can Egypt Convince the World That It Is Starting Over?," 19 Mar. 2019 For the revolutionaries, the war was an opportunity to overthrow the outdated class system put in place by the Spanish elite. Teen Vogue, "The Real History of Las Soldaderas, the Women Who Made the Mexican Revolution Possible," 12 Mar. 2019 At the time, Galliano was criticized for taking inspiration from the homeless population in Paris and the Tramp Balls of the 1920s and 1930s which saw the wealthy elite in derelict cosplay at glamorous soirées. Brooke Bobb, Vogue, "Rita Ora Brings Back One of Fashion’s Most Iconic Prints," 14 Dec. 2018 Would Dershowitz turn up, looking to ingratiate himself with the blue-state elite by buying a leftist baked good? Christopher Bonanos, The Cut, "Searching for Alan Dershowitz on Martha’s Vineyard," 5 July 2018 The gathering in Philadelphia in 1918 was the founding of the American Jewish Congress, intended to counterbalance the political dominance of the conservative German-Jewish elite at the time. Matt Campbell, kansascity, "New WWI museum exhibit looks at the American Jewish experience in the war," 29 June 2018 Anderson is known for his work with SoHo House, an elite, members-only club with luxe locations around the world. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Who's Attending Meghan Markle's Baby Shower in NYC?," 19 Feb. 2019 What was once design for the elite is now coming home to the rest of us. Lucia Tonelli, ELLE Decor, "The Inside Collaborates with Scalamandré on First-Ever Heritage Collection," 19 Feb. 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of elite

Noun

1823, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adjective

1808, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for elite

Noun

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about elite

Dictionary Entries near elite

elision

Elista

élite

elite

elite seed

elitism

elitist

Statistics for elite

Last Updated

16 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for elite

The first known use of elite was in 1808

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for elite

elite

noun

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on elite

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with elite

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for elite

Spanish Central: Translation of elite

Nglish: Translation of elite for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of elite for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about elite

Comments on elite

What made you want to look up elite? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

an enemy or opponent

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!