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 universitiesan elite athlete
a 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 elitethe silent majority were looked down upon by the liberal 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