\ 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 Publicly, the Beavers can’t precisely pinpoint why the Beavers have been effective against the Pac-12’s elite, and not so much against the rest. oregonlive, "Oregon State looks to Civil War showdown with Oregon as a chance to restore order at Gill Coliseum," 9 Feb. 2020 The 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer shows a growing gap between elites and those of lower rank. Rosabeth Moss Kanter For Cnn Business Perspectives, CNN, "It's time for Boeing's new CEO to restore trust by putting people first," 15 Jan. 2020 By the late 1970s, the Shah of Iran was abusing his absolute power both politically and economically to create a huge gap between the ruling elite and the Iranian people. Deina Abdelkader, The Conversation, "Killing of Soleimani evokes dark history of political assassinations in the formative days of Shiite Islam," 10 Jan. 2020 His sideline-to-sideline speed ranks among the league’s elite, and his ability to make plays around the ball are second-to-none -- that Week 1 interception of Rivers is a testament to both. Jim Ayello, Indianapolis Star, "Insider: Colts need Malik Hooker to do more than flash impact talent," 8 Jan. 2020 The Badgers performances against Minnesota and Ohio State were elite and more grounded than Oregon’s top recent games. John Holler, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "Rose Bowl: Wisconsin vs. Oregon odds, picks and best bets," 31 Dec. 2019 And chinless elites running around inside, panicking, their soft tiny hands fluttering, and loyal palace guardians (Beltway media) trying to protect them. John Kass, Twin Cities, "John Kass: Democratic House impeachment of Donald Trump no profile in courage," 20 Dec. 2019 With Eriksen yet to agree fresh terms ahead of the expiry of his current contract, the Dane is a wanted man among Europe's elite - and can sign a pre-contract agreement with non-British clubs in January. SI.com, "PSG Enter Race for Tottenham's Christian Eriksen Ahead of Contract Expiry Next Summer," 20 Oct. 2019 Both teams are elite defensively and play at a moderate tempo. Geoff Clark, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "Philadelphia 76ers at Boston Celtics odds, picks and best bets," 1 Feb. 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

Time Traveler

The first known use of elite was in 1738

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Statistics for elite

Last Updated

19 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Elite.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/elite. Accessed 27 Feb. 2020.

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on elite

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for elite

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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

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