grandee

play
noun gran·dee \gran-ˈdē\

Definition of grandee

  1. :  a man of elevated rank or station; especially :  a Spanish or Portuguese nobleman of the first rank

Examples of grandee in a sentence

  1. <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: 1598


Learn More about grandee


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up grandee? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to search out and expose misconduct

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

  • alphabet-magnets
  • Which is the correct spelling?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ