Definition of grandee
: a man of elevated rank or station; especially : a Spanish or Portuguese nobleman of the first rank
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Examples of grandee in a Sentence
only a Spanish grandee—and no one of lesser rank—can address comments to the king and queen of Spain
Recent Examples of grandee from the Web
At the 2002 Rex ball, the grandees of the predominantly white organization and their wives queued up for face time with the African-American candidate, whom many saw him as a savior who would deliver the city from a politically corrupt past.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'grandee'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
In Medieval Spain and Portugal, the "grandes" ("great ones," from Latin grandis, meaning "great") were at the pinnacle of the ranks of rich and powerful nobles. A grandee (as it came to be spelled in English) could wear a hat in the presence of the king and queen - the height of privilege - and he alone could address a letter directly to royalty. (Even Christopher Columbus had to direct his reports of the New World to an important noble at court, who read them to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella.) Today the term can still be applied to nobility, but it can also be used for anyone of importance and influence anywhere, such as the "pin-striped grandees of London's financial district."
Origin and Etymology of grandee
Spanish grande, from grande, adjective, large, great, from Latin grandis
First Known Use: 1593See Words from the same year
Seen and Heard
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