er·​u·​dite | \ ˈer-ə-ˌdīt How to pronounce erudite (audio) , ˈer-yə- How to pronounce erudite (audio) \

Definition of erudite

: having or showing knowledge that is gained by studying : possessing or displaying erudition an erudite scholar

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Other Words from erudite

eruditely adverb

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Erudite derives via Middle English "erudite" from Latin eruditus, the past participle of the verb erudire, meaning "to instruct." A closer look at that verb shows that it is formed by combining the prefix e-, meaning "missing" or "absent," with the adjective "rudis," which means "rude" or "ignorant" and is also the source of our word rude. We typically use the word rude to mean "discourteous" or "uncouth" but it can also mean "lacking refinement" or "uncivilized"; someone who is erudite, therefore, has been transformed from a roughened or uninformed state to a polished and knowledgeable one through a devotion to learning.

Examples of erudite in a Sentence

He wasn't bashful about showing himself to be feverishly erudite,  … terminally droll, and a wizard phrasemaker. — Susan Sontag, New Yorker, 18 & 25 June 2001 … an engaging fellow: erudite, entertaining, intolerant of trendiness and fearlessly old-fashioned.  … He can turn a nice phrase, too. — Mordecai Richler, Wall Street Journal, 2 May 1995 He was well read, especially in the works of Kipling, a field in which Violet could give him a game, and from time to time they would exchange erudite letters about Kipling characters. — Anthony Powell, The Strangers All are Gone, 1982 the most erudite people in medical research attended the conference an erudite lecture on the latest discoveries in astronomy
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Recent Examples on the Web Grammer will, of course, reprise his role as the legendarily erudite radio host, although the streaming service didn’t confirm if fellow co-stars David Hyde Pierce, Jane Leeves, and Peri Gilpin will be joining him. Devon Ivie, Vulture, "He’s Still Listening: Frasier Is Getting a Paramount+ Reboot," 24 Feb. 2021 Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz are erudite constitutional law scholars. Andrew C. Mccarthy, National Review, "Trump’s Allies Become the Swamp: The ‘Electoral Commission’ Gambit," 3 Jan. 2021 Among the habitués who befriended the erudite young server was the writer Henry Miller. New York Times, "The People James Baldwin Knew," 11 Dec. 2020 In a congenial end-of-year piece, Knight takes us down the rabbit hole of Baldessari’s erudite yet humorous thinking. Los Angeles Times, "Essential Arts: Chicano Moratorium route enters National Register of Historic Places," 12 Dec. 2020 Tom Ripley’s real-life counterparts seem to never quite measure up, though they are inevitably compared to him in the press — the very character is shorthand for the more epicurean or erudite of charlatans. Megan O’grady, New York Times, "How ‘The Talented Mr. Ripley’ Foretold Our Era of Grifting," 12 Nov. 2020 The late Lavey was primarily interested in civil conversation across ideological barriers, in relative thinking and an equal interchange of erudite ideas. Chris Jones,, "Rising in a pandemic, Steppenwolf’s new theater campus is a $54 million bet on returning to normalcy," 12 Nov. 2020 The erudite similes and lethally precise adjectives are there, as are the astute observations about domestic phenomena. Alice Gregory, The New Yorker, "Shirley Hazzard and the Art of Outsized Intimacy," 9 Nov. 2020 But Faubus was stunned in the 1970 Democratic primary by an erudite lawyer from Charleston named Dale Bumpers, who went on to defeat Rockefeller in the fall. Rex Nelson, Arkansas Online, "OPINION | REX NELSON: The pragmatists," 1 Nov. 2020

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

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for erudite

Middle English erudit, from Latin eruditus, from past participle of erudire to instruct, from e- + rudis rude, ignorant

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Time Traveler for erudite

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The first known use of erudite was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

28 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Erudite.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of erudite

: having or showing knowledge that is learned by studying

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