Definition of illuminati in US English:


plural noun

  • 1People claiming to possess special enlightenment or knowledge of something.

    ‘some mysterious standard known only to the illuminati of the organization’
    • ‘At the moment the front runners are ‘a crude Yank crashing the Brit party’ and a ‘bunch of sinister and heavily armed globalist illuminati who seek to infect the entire world’.’
    • ‘At the Vogue awards, she told the assembled industry illuminati: ‘I would like to thank my mum - I give this to her.’’
    • ‘In the last year rumours drifted forth that the BBC illuminati had no intention of allowing either the Jubilee or the possible death of the Queen Mother to be a time with nothing but deferential respect.’
    • ‘Celebrities, journalists, and other illuminati have long gushed with admiration for Cuba's communist despot.’
    • ‘The other prime role of Oxford is to take students, selected by bloodline, and prepare them for life as illuminati, within politics, business, finance and the media.’
    • ‘But for a band that usually only comes together in the studio and features a variety of the Boston metal illuminati, it must not have meant that much.’
    • ‘Armed with the secrets of Googling, you, too, can join the illuminati.’
    • ‘Without attention spans we will never see what is really there and we will spend all of our time concerned with the ideas and things that the illuminati want us to waste our times with rather than seeing the bigger picture.’
    • ‘Here, he attended lectures by such illuminati as Stanley Cavell (on Wittgenstein) and John Rawls (the theory justice).’
    • ‘There are telephone calls to make and illuminati to interview.’
    • ‘I do not want to upset the poker illuminati at the height of this fad.’
    • ‘Also on hand will be two of Montreal's house music illuminati, Christian Pronovost and Jojoflores, so be prepared to work it all night!’
    • ‘Each of these illuminati was paid $30,000 to attend the conference.’
    • ‘They hosted a series of environmental soirées at their studio to air important issues and Galen was always as well informed as anyone there, which included such illuminati as David Brower, Mark Dowie, and John McCosker.’
    • ‘There are a few weak-hearted souls who would like to raise the issue, but they recognize that the illuminati are not likely to entertain such a discussion any time soon.’
    • ‘No one is immune to the dollar sign, but the top illuminati can get it from many places, so the writing has to be on the page as well as on the checks.’
    • ‘He travels in stratospheric circles with crowned heads, presidents and various illuminati, glitterati and cognoscenti.’
    • ‘Their names should be spoken among the illuminati of our culture.’
    • ‘The fact that a few of the illuminati consider it worthy of reproduction, with remasters and re-releases, tells us nothing.’
    • ‘The danger is that the illuminati are cutting off their nose to spite their face.’
    intellectuals, intelligent people, academics, scholars, learned people, literati, culturati, men and women of letters, cognoscenti, highbrows, bluestockings, thinkers, brains
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A sect of 16th-century Spanish heretics who claimed special religious enlightenment.
    2. 1.2 A Bavarian secret society founded in 1776, organized like the Freemasons.


Late 16th century: plural of Italian illuminato or Latin illuminatus ‘enlightened’, past participle of illuminare (see illuminate).