elit·​ist | \ ā-ˈlē-tist How to pronounce elitist (audio) , i-, ē- \
plural elitists

Definition of elitist

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : 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
2 : 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



Definition of elitist (Entry 2 of 2)

: of or relating to elites or elitism: such as
a : 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
b : regarding other people as inferior because they lack power, wealth, or status : snobbish an elitist snob elitist classmates

Synonyms for elitist

Synonyms: Adjective

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First Known Use of elitist


1938, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1943, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of elitist was in 1938

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Cite this Entry

“Elitist.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/elitist. Accessed 18 Feb. 2020.

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English Language Learners Definition of elitist

: giving special treatment and advantages to wealthy and powerful people
: regarding other people as inferior because they lack power, wealth, etc.

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