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or élite

[ih-leet, ey-leet] /ɪˈlit, eɪˈlit/
(often used with a plural verb) the choice or best of anything considered collectively, as of a group or class of persons.
(used with a plural verb) persons of the highest class:
Only the elite were there.
a group of persons exercising the major share of authority or influence within a larger group:
the power elite of a major political party.
a type, approximately 10-point in printing-type size, widely used in typewriters and having 12 characters to the inch.
Compare pica1 .
representing the most choice or select; best:
an elite group of authors.
Origin of elite
1350-1400; Middle English elit a person elected to office < Middle French e(s)lit past participle of e(s)lire to choose; see elect
Related forms
antielite, noun, adjective
nonelite, noun
superelite, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for elite
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The elite Confectionery will occupy these premises Dec. 10th.

    Mixed Faces Roy Norton
  • Soon they reached the dirty, plastic front of the elite Cafe.

    Foundling on Venus John de Courcy
  • But there's very little chance for advancement unless you're one of the elite.


    Randall Garrett
  • After all, they would be, as one of their acquaintances said, among the elite of Beldover.

    The Rainbow D. H. (David Herbert) Lawrence
  • The elite of the army was in the Netherlands; there he could find what he desired.

British Dictionary definitions for elite


/ɪˈliːt; eɪ-/
(sometimes functioning as pl) the most powerful, rich, gifted, or educated members of a group, community, etc
Also called twelve pitch. a typewriter typesize having 12 characters to the inch
of, relating to, or suitable for an elite; exclusive
Word Origin
C18: from French, from Old French eslit chosen, from eslire to choose, from Latin ēligere to elect
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for elite

1823, from French élite "selection, choice," from Old French eslite (12c.), fem. past participle of elire, elisre "pick out, choose," from Latin eligere "choose" (see election). Borrowed in Middle English as "chosen person" (late 14c.), especially a bishop-elect; died out mid-15c.; re-introduced by Byron's "Don Juan." As an adjective by 1852. As a typeface, first recorded 1920.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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