The Meaning of Elite: What It Is and How To Use It

Have you ever wondered what the word elite means? Keep reading this article to learn the meaning of elite and how to use it.

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The word elite has a couple of meanings traditionally and in the modern-day. Keep reading this article to learn about the meaning of the word elite, its etymology, example sentences containing elite, translations, and synonyms and antonyms. Let’s dive in!

What Does the Word Elite Mean?

According to Collins English Dictionary, the word elite means a high status or powerful and gifted. In traditional meaning, elite referred to people of a high birth into a good social position as members of the highest class. They had the major share of authority and were persons of the highest class compared to a larger group. 

Elite also refers to a printing-type size for typewriters which measures twelve characters to a linear inch. This size of type is fairly standard. The pronunciation of elite is ɪˈliːt.

What Is the Etymology of the Word Elite?

According to Your Dictionary, the word elite has been used since the Middle English elit and comes from the French élite, Old French eslite, or Old French elit. This is the feminine form of eslit and the past participle of elire or feminine past participle of eslire, which is a French verb meaning to choose. These words come from the Latin ēligere, meaning elect.

How Can Elite Be Used in a Sentence?

The word elite can be used in numerous contexts. By studying these example sentences with the word elite, you can learn how to use this word in a sentence. It is important to know not only the definition of elite but also how to use it practically. 

Example #1: The Political Elite

A power elite of a major political party was arrested for embezzling in September.

Example #2: The Literary Elite

The elite group of authors met once a month to discuss their work. The members of the group also had high social standing among the publishers at Random House and William Collins Sons. 

Example #3: The Elite Athlete

Even the most elite athlete was no match for the powerful defender’s foot.

Example #4: The Elite Signal-Caller

The Green Bay Packers game’s elite signal-callers were amazing.

Example #5: The Elite Players

The attendees of the ritual ceremonies were among the elite of professional tennis and other elite sports players.

Example #6 The Social Elite

The house of social elites was a small group of powerful people who had a disproportionate amount of wealth, political power, privilege, and superiority.

What Are Translations of Elite?

Many languages have their own translations of the word elite. By studying this list of translations of elite from Nice Translator, you can learn how to communicate about things and people who are elite with people who do not speak English. 

  • Swedish: elit
  • Swahili: Wasomi
  • Polish: elita
  • Czech: elita
  • Tamil: எலைட்
  • Latvian: elite
  • Hungarian: elit
  • Spanish: élite
  • Russian: элиты
  • Chinese (Taiwan): 精英
  • Italian: elite
  • Chinese (PRC): 精英
  • Croatian: elita
  • Korean: 엘리트
  • Gujarati: કુશળ
  • Malayalam: വന്യക്തം
  • German: Elite
  • Vietnamese: ưu tú
  • Bengali: অভিজাত
  • Greek: αφρόκρεμα
  • Japanese: エリート
  • Estonian: eliit
  • Telugu: ఎలైట్
  • Portuguese (Portugal): elite
  • Hebrew: עִלִית
  • Thai: ผู้ลากมากดี
  • Urdu: ایلیٹ
  • Finnish: eliitti
  • Kannada: ಗಣ್ಯರು
  • Amharic: ልሂቅ
  • Dutch: elite
  • Malay: elit
  • Arabic: نخبة
  • Hindi: अभिजात वर्ग
  • Slovak: elita
  • Catalan: elit
  • Romanian: elită
  • Basque: elite
  • Turkish: seçkinler
  • Lithuanian: elitas
  • Marathi: अभिजन
  • Welsh: elitaidd
  • Portuguese (Brazil): elite
  • French: élite
  • Serbian: елита
  • Ukrainian: еліта
  • Indonesian: elite
  • Bulgarian: Елит

What Are Synonyms of the Word Elite?

Elite has many synonyms and related words. To learn words that can be used in place of the word elite, you can reference these synonyms of elite

You might choose to use a synonym of elite because you have already used the word several times. Other times, the word elite might not be quite right for the context of the sentence, and it is better to use a synonym. 

  • a-list
  • aristocracy
  • aristocratic
  • beau monde
  • beautiful people
  • best
  • best people
  • blue blood
  • carriage trade
  • celebrity
  • champion
  • choice
  • chosen
  • crack
  • cream
  • cream of society
  • cream of the crop
  • creme de la creme
  • elect
  • establishment
  • exclusive
  • fat
  • finest
  • first-class
  • first-rate
  • flower
  • foremost
  • gentility
  • gentlefolk
  • gentry
  • glitterati
  • haut monde
  • high life
  • high society
  • high-class
  • in-crowd
  • jet set
  • jet-set
  • leading
  • mainline
  • nobility
  • noble
  • nonpareil
  • patriciate
  • pick
  • pride
  • prime
  • privileged
  • prize
  • quality
  • royalty
  • ruling class
  • select
  • selected
  • smart set
  • society
  • super
  • superior
  • supreme
  • top
  • top drawer
  • upper class
  • upper classes
  • upper crust
  • upper-class
  • zenith

What Are Antonyms of Elite?

There are also numerous words that mean the opposite of the word elite. These antonyms of elite are also listed below from Power Thesaurus and refer to people and things that are lower class or regular. 

  • bad
  • bourgeoisie
  • cheap
  • common
  • common people
  • commonality
  • commonalty
  • commoner
  • commoners
  • crowd
  • dregs
  • dregs of society
  • great unwashed
  • herd
  • hoi polloi
  • inferior
  • low class
  • low-class
  • low-life
  • lower
  • lower class
  • lower-class
  • masses
  • middle class
  • millions
  • mob
  • multitude
  • ordinary
  • ordinary people
  • peasantry
  • peonage
  • people
  • plebeian
  • plebeians
  • plebs
  • pond scum
  • poor
  • populace
  • proletarian
  • proletarians
  • proletariat
  • propertyless
  • public
  • rabble
  • rabblement
  • ragtag and bobtail
  • rank and file
  • riff-raff
  • scum
  • scuzzballs
  • second-class
  • second-rate
  • sleazeballs
  • third estate
  • trash
  • unwashed
  • working class
  • worst


Elite (adj.) refers to people who are of high status in their respective fields, whether this is by birth or talent. This can also refer to a size of type or typeface for typewriters. 


  1. Elite synonyms – 1 348 Words and Phrases for Elite | Power Thesaurus 
  2. Elite antonyms – 381 Opposites of Elite | Power Thesaurus 
  3. Elite Meaning | Best 13 Definitions of Elite | Your Dictionary 
  4. Elite definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary 
  5. Elite | Nice Translator