er·​u·​dite | \ ˈer-ə-ˌdīt How to pronounce erudite (audio) , ˈer-yə- How to pronounce erudite (audio) \

Definition of erudite

: having or showing knowledge that is gained by studying : possessing or displaying erudition an erudite scholar

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Other Words from erudite

eruditely adverb

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Erudite derives via Middle English "erudite" 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" and is also the source of our word rude. We typically use the word rude to mean "discourteous" or "uncouth" but it can also mean "lacking refinement" or "uncivilized"; someone who is erudite, therefore, 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
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Recent Examples on the Web Here, Jack stands on his own, an erudite and grief-haunted cowboy with a Dartmouth education, a taste for 17th-century haiku poetry and a past in need of forgetting. Barbara Vandenburgh, USA TODAY, 23 Aug. 2021 Longtime collaborators Martin and Short remain ideal comic foils; as Oliver, Short tosses off erudite critiques with effortless panache. Kristen Baldwin,, 23 Aug. 2021 It’s both a convivial drinking establishment and home to the magnificent and erudite Bruce Cameron Elliott. Rick Kogan,, 19 July 2021 The previous film dealt with the tumultuous relationship between Julie, a naïve film student (Honor Swinton Byrne), and Anthony, an erudite drug addict (Tom Burke). Rachel Handler, Vulture, 20 July 2021 He was being cleaned with water and Q-tips, by erudite Italians kneeling on scaffolding beside his pensive brow; that’s how Holt’s feet seemed to me—like things another person would carefully clean for him. Savala Nolan, Harper's Magazine, 20 July 2021 Darwall offers a meticulous, erudite, and, yes, entertaining dissection of ESG, using both theory and evidence. Stephen R. Soukup, National Review, 12 July 2021 This is the essence of a liberal education: the nurturing and development of independent minds by erudite teachers of various ideological persuasions through exposure to the widest range of intellectual inquiry. Gerard Baker, WSJ, 21 June 2021 His friends noted that Lutzius was strangely erudite for someone who dropped out of high school, regularly forcing his patrons to endure foreign films. San Diego Union-Tribune, 22 May 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'erudite.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of erudite

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for erudite

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

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

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Last Updated

20 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Erudite.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for erudite



English Language Learners Definition of erudite

: having or showing knowledge that is learned by studying

More from Merriam-Webster on erudite

Nglish: Translation of erudite for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of erudite for Arabic Speakers


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