\ 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 As for what the numbers mean, PFF has explained its grades this way: 100-90 elite; 89-85 Pro Bowler; 84-70 starter; 69-60 backup; 59-0 replaceable. Scott Patsko, cleveland, "How Browns offensive players graded for the 2019 season," 31 Dec. 2019 For Shkeir, the charity spirit reflects the principles of the protests — the rejection of an entire political elite seen as corrupt and of Lebanon’s sectarian power-sharing system. Washington Post, "Lebanese help each other as economic crisis crushes lives," 25 Dec. 2019 This has been particularly true between political elites from regional states such as Tigray and Amhara. Yohannes Gedamu, Quartz Africa, "The new political party of Ethiopia’s Abiy holds much promise but faces significant hurdles," 13 Dec. 2019 The anti-Moon protesters are proud of their faith’s historical links with the political elite. The Economist, "Protestant evangelicals in South Korea wield outsize political power," 28 Nov. 2019 The protests have expanded to calls for a new government and for political elites to step down. Fox News, "Lebanon protests turn deadly as local party official killed," 13 Nov. 2019 Thousands of students have skipped classes to take part in the street rallies, blaming the political elite for widespread corruption, high unemployment and poor public services. NBC News, "Iraqi protesters attack Iran consulate in Karbala," 4 Nov. 2019 The protests soon widened into calls for the overthrow of the political elites who have ruled the country since the 1975-1990 civil war. Andrea Rosa, chicagotribune.com, "Anti-government protesters notch win in Lebanon: The prime minister has resigned," 29 Oct. 2019 The fight Amid this rapid evolution, the power brokers and the strip club owners have gone head to head to persuade Reno’s political elites to see things their way. Anjeanette Damon, USA Today, "High heels, high tech, high stakes: What happened when Reno tried to kick out its strip clubs," 29 Oct. 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.

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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

8 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Elite.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/elites. Accessed 18 January 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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