Definition of elite in English:



  • 1treated as singular or plural A select group that is superior in terms of ability or qualities to the rest of a group or society.

    ‘the elite of Britain's armed forces’
    as modifier ‘an elite athlete’
    ‘elite colleges and universities’
    ‘an elite combat force’
    • ‘While the regime worked with the elites, it proved helpless when the people took to the streets.’
    • ‘Political parties tend to follow ethnic lines and draw their leaders from educated elites.’
    • ‘Yet the poor, especially, need the power of democracy to defend themselves against corrupt elites.’
    • ‘The traditional elites were relegated into the background several decades ago.’
    • ‘Blinding hatred and contempt seem to be common reactions among the enlightened elites.’
    • ‘Town life also presented new challenges of economic and social organization to urban elites.’
    • ‘As he put it himself on the weekend, he will have finally defeated the elites.’
    • ‘There is a growing tendency to conflate the interests of the governing elites with those of the nation.’
    • ‘One should bear in mind that the media and intellectual elites generally have their particular agendas.’
    • ‘The elites in those countries look at us and marvel at what we show is possible, even if they do think we have had it easy.’
    • ‘In fact, Murray comments that societal elites were less likely to be religious.’
    • ‘Highly sophisticated elites are the easiest and least original thing a society can produce.’
    • ‘This was replaced from the 17th to 19th centuries by the noble and educated elites.’
    • ‘For Serbian elites it is the international community that must not be let down, rather than the electorate.’
    • ‘You all look so good when you cluster in little groups forming elite social circles.’
    • ‘But we view our own political elites, fighting against them, with more than a hint of suspicion.’
    • ‘They reflect the values of the elites, and not their larger working class constituency.’
    • ‘One should bear in mind that the media and the intellectual elites generally have their particular agendas.’
    • ‘It is a model strictly for people who are into hierarchical societies with bossy elites who like to display their power.’
    • ‘He says the action is in the cities, where urban elites are the future of the country.’
    best, pick, cream, flower, nonpareil, elect
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A group or class of people seen as having the most power and influence in a society, especially on account of their wealth or privilege.
      ‘the country's governing elite’
      ‘the silent majority were looked down upon by the liberal elite’
      • ‘This political apathy enabled the ruling elites to exercise their authority unconstrained by popular pressure.’
      • ‘This issue owes less to public prejudice than to the conceit of the liberal elite.’
      • ‘Over the past decade, the Western political elite has experienced a profound disorientation.’
      • ‘What we need is a democratic economy where decisions on what is needed are made by the people and not by the corporate elite.’
      • ‘Unless you're a CEO or a millionaire I don't see how you can defend a party whose policy benefits benefits the elite over the general populace.’
      • ‘It's another show of political correctness from the liberal elite.’
      • ‘In poor countries with unstable democracies, too little oil money comes back to benefit the people and is instead being spent on maintaining political and personal power of the ruling elite.’
      • ‘Foreign debts have also risen faster than population but most of the cash went into the pockets of a wealthy elite.’
      • ‘Polls show that the British people are inexorably losing faith in their governing elites and institutions.’
      • ‘The report estimated the net worth of the world's wealthy elite at 30.2 trillion dollars.’
      • ‘The world's super-rich elites are using tax avoidance techniques to hoard huge amounts of wealth.’
      • ‘The consequent reduction of the public sector puts even more power in the hands of the corporate elite.’
      • ‘The liberal elite showed it was way out of touch even before the election.’
      • ‘The political elite now regards him as beyond the pale.’
      • ‘When it comes to vital resources like water and land, free market is the dominant mantra of the world's financial elite.’
      • ‘In recent decades, successive governments have carried out policies aimed at benefiting a tiny privileged elite at the expense of the broad mass of working people.’
      • ‘The oil is owned by the state but had been controlled by an elite who kept the profits amongst themselves.’
      • ‘Part of this strategy was to portray the press as members of a liberal elite that was out of touch with these real Americans.’
      • ‘We are ruled by an elite where money talks louder than morals and ethics.’
      • ‘The 1960s precipitated a major crisis of confidence among the ruling elites.’
      • ‘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.’
  • 2mass noun A size of letter in typewriting, with 12 characters to the inch (about 4.7 to the centimetre).


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