Definition of grandee
: a man of elevated rank or station; especially : a Spanish or Portuguese nobleman of the first rank
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>
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: 1593
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