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elit·​ist i-ˈlē-tist How to pronounce elitist (audio) ē- How to pronounce elitist (audio) ā- How to pronounce elitist (audio)
plural elitists
: one who is an adherent of elitism : one whose attitudes and beliefs are biased in favor of a socially elite class of people
On many issues, they seem to be populists rather than elitists—believers that people can make decisions for themselves better than elites can.Michael Barone
Derided by elitists as phony, the … movement is spontaneous, decentralized, frequently amateurish and sometimes shrill.Karl Rove
: a person who is or regards himself or herself as a member of a socially elite group
He's too rich, too polished—he's an elitist in a party that has become home to disaffected white, working-class voters.Joe Klein
He was an elitist, who esteemed himself better than Americans from most classes of the population.Louis Filler


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: of or relating to elites or elitism: such as
: giving special treatment and advantages to wealthy and powerful people
elitist colleges
an elitist country club
Cosmetic surgery is still mostly an elitist preoccupation …Toni Bentley
: regarding other people as inferior because they lack power, wealth, or status : snobbish
an elitist snob
elitist classmates

Examples of elitist in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Wade often depicts those who would deny the continent its current fossil fuel boom as out-of-touch elitists and regularly claims that climate action will kill a billion Africans—all while refusing to engage with the fact that African climate activists are being arrested at an alarming rate. Amy Westervelt, The New Republic, 12 Sep. 2023 The opposition sought to portray Mr. Mitsotakis as an arrogant, autocratic and out-of-touch elitist who was both a beneficiary and perpetrator of nepotism, but that did not seem to resonate with voters. Jason Horowitz, New York Times, 26 June 2023 Newsom has a different problem: Californians who see him as an elitist who doesn’t think the rules apply to him, Exhibit A being the infamous French Laundry dinner. Joe Garofoli, San Francisco Chronicle, 2 Feb. 2021 It can be used as either a disparaging or playful way of calling someone an elitist. Deb Amlen, New York Times, 16 Oct. 2022 Mocking people without coming across as a patronizing elitist is an incredibly difficult feat, and Burr seems to understand how to walk across that line, without stumbling. Dani Di Placido, Forbes, 21 May 2021 Remember 2013, when supporters of Walsh, of Dorchester, tried to cast his opponent John Connolly, the son of a judge, born and raised in Roslindale, as an out-of-touch elitist for having gone to Harvard? BostonGlobe.com, 2 Oct. 2021 There was a common theme to paint Newsom as an elitist, which included Elder calling out the governor for his infamous French Laundry dinner on Nov. 6. Los Angeles Times, 1 Sep. 2021 Go ahead, call me an elitist. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 11 Nov. 2011
French politics has become an elitist preserve of white men from the best schools. Nabila Ramdani, Foreign Affairs, 20 Feb. 2024 Carnival krewes in New Orleans did not desegregate until 1992 when a Black City Councilwoman named Dorothy Mae Taylor authored the ordinance to integrate Mardi Gras and challenged the elitist, racist practices embedded in Carnival. Cierra Chenier, Essence, 12 Feb. 2024 This sector, an elitist enclave since the early 1990s, sought a new motto to represent fresh strategies of engaging with customers, merging geography, economy, and design. Molly Peck, USA TODAY, 24 Jan. 2024 Some residents and businesses on Pico paint the gates as elitist. Dakota Smith, Los Angeles Times, 9 Feb. 2024 Still, Maggie does not quite understand the pressures that Emily faces while attending school in such an elitist environment. Lynnette Nicholas, Parents, 4 Feb. 2024 And about having specific opinions about art not being some elitist hoity-toity thing. Chris Klimek, Smithsonian Magazine, 21 Dec. 2023 France to ban full-length Muslim dresses in schools, renewing fierce debate His appointment may not do much to shield against accusations that Macron’s government is elitist. Annabelle Timsit, Washington Post, 9 Jan. 2024 There is also a sense among delegates that this year’s summit has morphed into something slicker, and more elitist, than previous conferences. Taylor Luck, The Christian Science Monitor, 4 Dec. 2023 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use


1938, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1943, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of elitist was in 1938

Dictionary Entries Near elitist

Cite this Entry

“Elitist.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/elitist. Accessed 2 Mar. 2024.

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