One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Politics. In the Soviet Union and other communist countries: a class of approved intellectuals and Party bureaucrats enjoying certain social and economic privileges over ordinary citizens; compare "nomenklatura", partocracy. Now historical.
2In extended use: a class or group of any society regarded as enjoying or promoting privileged status.
1950s; earliest use found in The Syracuse Herald-Journal. Blend of privilege and intelligentsia.
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