er·​u·​dite ˈer-ə-ˌdīt How to pronounce erudite (audio) ˈer-yə- How to pronounce erudite (audio)
: having or showing knowledge that is gained by studying : possessing or displaying erudition
an erudite scholar
eruditely adverb

Did you know?

Erudite derives 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." (Rudis is also the source of the English word rude.) We typically use rude to mean "discourteous" or "uncouth" but it can also mean "lacking refinement" or "uncivilized." Taking these meanings into account, erudite stays true to its etymology: someone who is erudite 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
Recent Examples on the Web Grok, after all, is trained on X’s huge years-old archive of user posts, and many of those aren’t exactly erudite. Kylie Robison, Fortune, 12 Apr. 2024 Viewers enjoyed the dignified combination of MacNeil, who spoke in a clipped, erudite manner; and Lehrer, a Kansas native with a soft heartland drawl. Stephen Battaglio, Los Angeles Times, 12 Apr. 2024 See all Example Sentences for erudite 

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

Word History


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

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

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


Dictionary Entries Near erudite

Cite this Entry

“Erudite.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


er·​u·​dite ˈer-(y)ə-ˌdīt How to pronounce erudite (audio)
: having or showing erudition
eruditely adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on erudite

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!