or é·lite

[ih-leet, ey-leet]
See more synonyms for elite on Thesaurus.com
  1. (often used with a plural verb) the choice or best of anything considered collectively, as of a group or class of persons.
  2. (used with a plural verb) persons of the highest class: Only the elite were there.
  3. a group of persons exercising the major share of authority or influence within a larger group: the power elite of a major political party.
  4. a type, approximately 10-point in printing-type size, widely used in typewriters and having 12 characters to the inch.Compare pica1.
  1. 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 formsan·ti·e·lite, noun, adjectivenon·e·lite, nounsu·per·e·lite, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for elite

Contemporary Examples of elite

Historical Examples of elite

  • 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



  1. (sometimes functioning as plural) the most powerful, rich, gifted, or educated members of a group, community, etc
  2. Also called: twelve pitch a typewriter typesize having 12 characters to the inch
  1. of, relating to, or suitable for an elite; exclusive

Word Origin for elite

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

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