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 Al-Mashat is a force unleashed, a determined, erudite character armed with a winning smile, a Ph.D. in economics, and years of experience at the International Monetary Fund in Washington, D.C. Anthony Sattin, Condé Nast Traveler, "As Travelers Return to Egypt, Look Past Cairo," 24 Dec. 2019 Voters confess unease with the erudite but untrustworthy Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his plan for a hard, swift Brexit, and with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and his own hard-left plan to remake the British economy under a socialist banner. Washington Post, "In Britain’s ‘appalling’ election, voters in the middle don’t like either Boris Johnson or Jeremy Corbyn," 8 Dec. 2019 His speaking style can veer from lyrical to profane to deeply erudite to entirely streetwise. Belinda Luscombe, Time, "I Thrive in a Certain Kind of Complexity.' Artist-Musician Theaster Gates on the Transformative Power of Art," 5 Dec. 2019 He is known in America as a regular erudite host of art-historical documentaries on PBS, such as the current series Civilizations which tells the history of art from the dawn of human history. Gregory Katz, USA TODAY, "Queen's honors go to Emma Thompson, Tom Hardy, Keira Knightley," 8 June 2018 Grab a copy of one of these page-turners and start living the life of the erudite sofa spud. Wired Staff, Wired, "12 Science Books You Should Read Right Now," 23 Dec. 2019 Masalha is an erudite and widely read Palestinian historian in London, who commands many languages, ancient and modern, in addition to Arabic, and brings an understandable passion to his reflections on the concept and location of Palestine. G.w. Bowersock, The New York Review of Books, "The Many Lives of Palestine," 18 Apr. 2019 Her Treasures, a delightful alchemy of erudite gleanings, has a clear affinity with his own lyric essays. Julian Lucas, Harper's magazine, "New Books," 25 Nov. 2019 Buttigieg, the erudite son of university professors, is contemplative and careful. Maureen Groppe, USA TODAY, "'Radical access': Inside Pete Buttigieg's New Hampshire bus tour," 12 Nov. 2019

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

8 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Erudite.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for erudite


How to pronounce erudite (audio) How to pronounce erudite (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of erudite

: having or showing knowledge that is learned by studying

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More from Merriam-Webster on erudite

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for erudite

Spanish Central: Translation of erudite

Nglish: Translation of erudite for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of erudite for Arabic Speakers

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