gray eminence


: a person who exercises power behind the scenes

Examples of gray eminence in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Less gray eminence perhaps -- Santi Hernandez is mop-haired and bearded -- but this man is an almost permanent fixture at the side of five-time MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez. Jonathan Hawkins, CNN, 11 June 2019 Few active country artists possess the deep knowledge and love of the tradition’s history and lore of singer-songwriter Marty Stuart, who’s evolved into a gray eminence with a mixture of elegance and unquenchable curiosity. Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader, 8 Dec. 2017 Image The maverick genius of the 1980s, now the gray eminence of the 2010s, Mr. Moss is perhaps the most successful editor of his generation. New York Times, 15 Sep. 2017 But aren’t the series’ subjects—the ones still breathing—usually gray eminences? John Anderson, WSJ, 31 Aug. 2017 At a moment of doctrinal crisis in the Republican party, Newt Gingrich is the only major figure in his party who is both insurgent and gray eminence. John H. Richardson, Esquire, 10 Aug. 2010

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

Word History


translation of French Éminence grise, nickname of Père Joseph (François Joseph du Tremblay) †1638 French monk and diplomat who was confidant of Cardinal Richelieu, styled Éminence rouge (red eminence); from the colors of their respective habits

First Known Use

1831, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of gray eminence was in 1831

Dictionary Entries Near gray eminence

Cite this Entry

“Gray eminence.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Nov. 2023.

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