elit·​ism | \ā-ˈlē-ˌti-zəm, i-, ē- \

Definition of elitism 

1 : leadership or rule by an elite

2 : the selectivity of the elite especially : snobbery elitism in choosing new members

3 : consciousness of being or belonging to an elite

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Other Words from elitism

elitist \ ā-​ˈlē-​tist , i-​, ē-​ \ noun or adjective

Examples of elitism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

That's exactly why the story is important, because Alan Dershowitz struggles in his socialist struggling in the enclave of liberal elitism actually says something about the state of where liberal elites are, and that there is this intolerance. Fox News, "Media's Supreme Court scrutiny," 9 July 2018 Scooters are annoying symbols of tech-world elitism. Kevin Roose, New York Times, "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Electric Scooters," 6 June 2018 Their populist combination of elitism with a reform agenda appears to have given voters more confidence in the ability of Sadr and Geagea to implement reform than in the prospect of independent voices to change the system. Renad Mansour, Washington Post, "An emerging populism is sweeping the Middle East," 11 July 2018 Trump is delivering both a relentless assault on the American mind while at the same time promoting the worst forms of old-fashioned credentialist elitism. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "‘Populist’ Trump Turns Up Nose at Public University Graduates," 9 July 2018 The cruel elitism of our current political moment undermines the rights of all Floridians. miamiherald, "Leigh-Ann Buchanan," 30 June 2018 President Trump slams Democratic elitism, his fiery remarks, a little but even more than that, next. Fox News, "GOP delays House vote on 'compromise' immigration bill," 22 June 2018 Get your history fix in one place: sign up for the weekly TIME History newsletter The common thread in these statements is Einstein’s clear (and extreme) intellectual elitism. Ze'ev Rosenkranz, Time, "The Real Lesson of the Racial Slurs in Albert Einstein’s Private Travel Diaries," 19 June 2018 First, in the immediate aftermath of the 2008 economic crash, Republicans won the messaging game, branding Democrats as the party of technocratic elitism and themselves as the economic populists. Gabriel Debenedetti, Daily Intelligencer, "Where Is Barack Obama?," 24 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'elitism.' 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 elitism

1947, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Dictionary Entries near elitism



elite seed





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Last Updated

30 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for elitism

The first known use of elitism was in 1947

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


to express warning or disapproval

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