\ 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



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

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 administration also intends to ratchet up sanctions on the Russian elite, taking steps to penalize eight executives with Sberbank and 27 executives with Gazprombank along with the Moscow Industrial Bank and its subsidiaries. Ken Thomas, WSJ, 8 May 2022 In March, Britain included him on a list of sanctions against the Russian business elite. New York Times, 1 May 2022 In the two months since Russia invaded Ukraine, the silence — and even acquiescence — of the Russian elite has started to fray. Washington Post, 29 Apr. 2022 Abramovich was sanctioned by the U.K. and the E.U. last month as countries hit the Russian elite with punishments after Russia invaded Ukraine in February. Anna Kaplan, Forbes, 13 Apr. 2022 But Badanin insists he's got the scoop on good sourcing and apparently much of the Russian elite, starting with the Defense Minister, Sergei Shoigu, have taken the plunge. Fox News, 7 Apr. 2022 The measures also target Putin’s two daughters, Maria Putina and Katerina Tikhonova, as well as other members of the Russian elite, including Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s wife and daughter. Courtney Subramanianstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 6 Apr. 2022 Unease is growing among the Russian elite, particularly among those with foreign residences and passports. The Week Staff, The Week, 3 Apr. 2022 Sechin is not the only member of the Russian elite who got a yacht seized this week. Amiah Taylor, Fortune, 3 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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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Last Updated

18 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Elite.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/elite. Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on 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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