Definition of elitism in English:



  • 1[mass noun] The belief that a society or system should be led by an elite.

    ‘local government in the nineteenth century was the very essence of elitism’
    • ‘An emphasis on social context has long been looked to as an alternative to the elitism and limited scope of Greenbergian formalism.’
    • ‘But the elitism and the populism in this claim are less far apart than they might seem.’
    • ‘This was an elitism based not on the traditional values of the British ruling class, but on the new global super-rich who are close to the Labour government, and who have made their base in London with its sympathetic tax laws.’
    • ‘Higher education shed the German tradition of elitism and became egalitarian.’
    • ‘The spirit of American democracy is opposed to elitism.’
    • ‘There is a real worry in the profession that this registration will create an elitism between different sides of the social work profession - those who have qualifications and can be registered, or can afford it, and those who do not.’
    • ‘The majority of contemporary U.S. political and social theorists are like the majority of American citizens, preferring democratic or republican theories to elitism or divine right.’
    • ‘Others accused the group of promoting corporate hegemony, one-world government, or elitism.’
    • ‘The author's cynicism is ultimately rooted in a common confusion, a false conflict between democracy and elitism, one that forgets the ways in which these two human ideals actually depend on one another.’
    • ‘Paradise builds on West's critique, exploring colorism, elitism, and patriarchy as structures that compose the black bourgeois ideal.’
    • ‘A new social system starts, and seems delightfully free of the elitism and cliquishness of the existing systems.’
    • ‘It is also expected to speed up the reform of a judiciary that is dominated by elitism and conservatism.’
    1. 1.1The dominance of a society or system by an elite.
    2. 1.2The superior attitude or behaviour associated with an elite.
      ‘he accused her of racism and white elitism’
      • ‘Franzen acknowledges the snobbery inherent in his comments, but argues that such elitism is ‘not the reprehensible attitude’ that people commonly believe it to be.’
      • ‘Poor old opera: battered by charges of elitism, inaccessibility and snobbery, it would be easy to predict its coming death.’
      • ‘The elitism often associated with opera seems to have become more pronounced in the last hundred years, with ticket prices being a possible contributory factor.’
      • ‘It is unjustified arrogance and inverted elitism to think otherwise.’
      • ‘Fans of such cheap television will accuse me of snobbery and elitism.’
      • ‘It is clear that your hate is founded in your arrogant elitism and your rank racism… I love you liberals… or is it communists?’
      • ‘Horse riding suffers from the taint of elitism and snobbery which is a legacy of the past.’
      • ‘There can be no superiority or elitism about this.’
      • ‘There are still some cases of snobbery and elitism in Oxbridge admissions, but this situation won't be helped by government quotas.’
      • ‘Rather than this being understood as outdated elitism, or arrogance, this can be read more subtly.’
      • ‘Wine has had a tendency to carry with it a stigma of elitism and snobbery.’
      • ‘These private men's clubs continued the European traditions of elitism, race superiority and gender exclusion.’
      • ‘The Darwinian struggle for a private kindergarten spot is also evidence of the triumph of the cognitive elitism that began in the sixties.’
      • ‘Culturalism smacks of attitudes of superiority and cultural elitism - my culture is better than yours.’
      • ‘Their ‘arrogant elitism… totally negates the dominant historical role of the masses ’, the paper said.’
      • ‘When I hear that attitude, it smacks of elitism.’
      • ‘For all its pretensions and elitism, the art movie industry - the producers, the distributors, the cinemas - did at least ensure a diverse and plentiful supply of world cinema.’
      • ‘If this is the case, then the future for the modern idea of the university and its associated elitism looks bleak.’
      • ‘The stock-market became a ‘people-friendly’ place with no space for snobs, hierarchies, elitism and pretence.’
      • ‘At last month's conference he made a real attempt to atone for the arrogance and elitism of the old Conservatism by letting it be known that the party was no longer hostile to gays, blacks and single mothers.’
      affectation, pretentiousness, condescension, affectedness, pretension, elitism, snobbishness, arrogance, pride, haughtiness, airs, airs and graces, disdain, disdainfulness, superciliousness, exclusiveness
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