1 of 3


singular or plural in construction : the choice part : cream
the elite of the entertainment world
singular or plural in construction : the best of a class
superachievers who dominate the computer eliteMarilyn Chase
singular or plural in construction : the socially superior part of society
how the French-speaking elite … was changingEconomist
: a group of persons who by virtue of position or education exercise much power or influence
members of the ruling elite
: a member of such an elite
usually used in plural
the elites …, pursuing their studies in EuropeRobert Wernick
: a typewriter type providing 12 characters to the linear inch


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

3 of 3

chiefly British spellings of elite, 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
And most recently Yevgeny Prigozhin - former confidante who died with much of his Wagner mercenary elite in a suspicious plane crash last year. Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, 16 Feb. 2024 He’s made horror films before, but this one rebukes the hypocrisies of social progressives and the whole damned better-than-thou global elite. Armond White, National Review, 14 Feb. 2024 Since the inception of the hit reality television series Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta, viewers have gotten glimpses of the personal lives of Atlanta’s elite, and that’s something that hasn’t changed. Kenneth J. Williams Jr., Forbes, 13 Feb. 2024 Aside from its impressive view of Central Park and its proximity to the late La Côte Basque (the restaurant, a popular hotspot for New York City’s elite, at which the series' main characters dine continuously), The Plaza is a beacon for wealth. Jamie Spain, Condé Nast Traveler, 13 Feb. 2024 Philippe has support among Haiti’s political and economic elite as well as ordinary Haitians. Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald, 12 Feb. 2024 Yet Khan remains remarkably popular — a former cricket national team captain beloved by the masses who is seen as standing against a class of entrenched, feckless elites. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, 7 Feb. 2024 The Niners will need to be perfect on the back end of the defense and elite against the run to hold Kansas City under 28 points. Dieter Kurtenbach, The Mercury News, 2 Feb. 2024 An overwhelming majority of its justices come from an entrenched elite—male, Hindu, and occupying the upper echelons of India’s caste system—a demographic that has traditionally been the bedrock of Hindu nationalism. Vaibhav Vats, The Atlantic, 3 Feb. 2024
Researchers found that the risk of CTE pathology was associated with the length of a player’s career, noting that each additional year of play added 14% to the risk of CTE – regardless of whether a player was amateur or elite and their position or level of participation. Amy Woodyatt, CNN, 5 Feb. 2024 However, travelers should also note that TrueBlue points are different than the tiles required to qualify for Mosaic elite status. Stella Shon, Travel + Leisure, 5 Feb. 2024 Iran’s elite Quds Force, which has armed and advised militant groups across the region, was blamed for scores of deaths among U.S. troops during the Iraq War. Mustafa Salim, Washington Post, 2 Feb. 2024 There are also classes for all skill levels, from beginners to elite players. Heidi Finley, Charlotte Observer, 2 Feb. 2024 Swift, the hitmaker whose dominance of pop culture now includes the first tour to gross more than $1 billion, is the latest in a long list of celebrities, government officials and elite businesspeople to come under scrutiny about private jet travel. Isabella O'Malley, Fortune, 2 Feb. 2024 At around 7 years old, her teachers would take her to play at the elite Carnegie’s house. Amanda Rosa, Miami Herald, 1 Feb. 2024 The University of Washington’s underdog crew team defeats elite rowers to face Hitler’s German athletes in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Becky Meloan, Washington Post, 24 Jan. 2024 Rozier has been an elite player on a bad team for a long time. Scott Fowler, Charlotte Observer, 24 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'elite.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



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

First Known Use


1738, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1808, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of elite was in 1738

Dictionary Entries Near elite

Cite this Entry

“Elite.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/elite. Accessed 20 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


: the part or group having the highest quality or importance
: a small powerful group of people
elite adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on elite

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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