Definition of elite in English:


Syllabification: e·lite
Pronunciation: /əˈlēt, āˈlēt


  • 1A select part of a group that is superior to the rest in terms of ability or qualities: the elite of Britain’s armed forces [as modifier]: elite colleges and universities an elite athlete
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    • In fact, Murray comments that societal elites were less likely to be religious.
    • It is a model strictly for people who are into hierarchical societies with bossy elites who like to display their power.
    • Town life also presented new challenges of economic and social organization to urban elites.
  • 1.1A group or class of people seen as having the greatest power and influence within a society, especially because of their wealth or privilege: the country’s governing elite the silent majority were looked down upon by the liberal elite
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    • He feared that by endorsing Sinclair he would alienate the banking and industrial elite, which he was attempting to win to the side of his New Deal policies.
    • Polls show that the British people are inexorably losing faith in their governing elites and institutions.
    • When it comes to vital resources like water and land, free market is the dominant mantra of the world's financial elite.
  • 2A size of letter in typewriting, with 12 characters to the inch (about 4.7 to the centimeter).


late 18th century: from French élite 'selection, choice', from élire 'to elect', from a variant of Latin eligere (see elect). sense 2 dates from the early 20th century.

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