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

Do you know the definition of elitist? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word elitist, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word elitist mean?

According to Collins English Dictionary and the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, the definition of elitist is a noun or an adjective that refers to someone who thinks they are better than others or another group of people . An elitist person or group of persons may exhibit behavior that makes them appear to have wisdom or special skills. Elitists usually only want to associate with a select group of people and do not believe in the equality of all people, but rather the domination of themselves and people of their same group. Carlyle, Freud, and Nietzsche were all considered to be the original elitist philosophers. Elitist is three syllables – el-it-ist, and the pronunciation of elitist is ɪliːtɪst. The noun elitist refers to a person who is elitism, but one can also use the suffix ism to make the term elitism, which is also a noun.

Many different languages have their own translations of elitist. You may notice that in the below list of translations from Word Sense, many of these translations of elitist look and sound similar to the word elitist. These are called cognates, which are formed when two words have the same language of origin or root. 

  •  Swedish: elitistisk‎, elitisk‎
  •  Persian: فخرفروشی‎
  •  Romanian: snob‎ (masc.)
  •  Finnish: snobi‎
  •  Scottish Gaelic: sodalan‎ (masc.)
  •  Russian: сноб‎ (masc.), зазна́йка‎ (masc.)
  •  French: snob‎ (masc.) (f)
  •  Slovak: snob‎ (masc.)
  •  Portuguese: esnobe‎ (masc.) (f)
  •  Egyptian Arabic: متعالي‎ (muta3alii)
  •  Spanish: elitista‎
  •  Dutch: elitair‎
  •  German: elitär‎
  •  Roman: snȍb‎ (masc.)
  •  Arabic: (indefinite) مُتَعَالٍ‎ (masc.), (definite) المُتَعَالِي‎ (masc.)
  •  Greek: σνομπ‎ (masc.) (f), ψηλομύτης‎ (masc.), ακατάδεκτος‎ (masc.)
  •  Hungarian: sznob‎
  •  Catalan: elitista‎
  •  Icelandic: snobb‎ (neut.)
  •  Mandarin: 勢利的人‎, 势利的人‎ (shìlì de rén)
  •  Maltese: pepè‎, mnieħru mxammar‎ (masc.), mnieħirha mxammar‎ (fem.)
  •  Czech: elitářský‎ (masc.)
  •  Danish: snob‎ (common)
  •  Maori: ihu tū‎
  •  Cyrillic: сно̏б‎ (masc.)
  •  Japanese: スノッブ‎ (sunobbu)
  •  Italian: snob‎ (masc.) (f)
  •  Hebrew: סנוב‎

What is the origin of the word elitist?

According to Etymonline, the word elitist has been used as an adjective since the year 1950 in the English language to refer to people who tend to advocate or prefer a certain rule or social domination by some elite element within a system or society. These people often deem themselves to be among the elite. The original examples used in this description were Freud, Nietzsche, and Carlyle, and the word has been used as a noun since the year 1961. Try using this new word of the day in a sentence today!

What are synonyms and antonyms of elitist?

There are a plethora of different words that can be used in place of the word elitist. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same definition or meaning as another given word or phrase. Learning synonyms is a great way to avoid repeating yourself and an easy way to expand your vocabulary. This list of synonyms of elitist is provided by Power Thesaurus.

  •  pompous ass
  •  entitled
  •  pretender
  •  high-hat
  •  stuck-up
  •  recondite
  •  snotty
  •  fancy-pants
  •  condescending
  •  potty
  •  disdainful
  •  slobbish
  •  snooty
  •  exceptionalism
  •  blue blood
  •  affected
  •  snoot
  •  esoteric
  •  snot
  •  braggart
  •  supercilious
  •  elite
  •  superior
  •  persnickety
  •  smarty pants
  •  arrogant
  •  aristocratic
  •  social climber
  •  upstart
  •  la-di-da
  •  highbrow
  •  obscure
  •  inegalitarian
  •  snobby
  •  prig
  •  capitalist
  •  haughty
  •  incomprehensible
  •  pretentious
  •  snob
  •  aristocrat
  •  pompous person
  •  hoity-toity
  •  parvenu
  •  inaccessible
  •  uppity
  •  class-conscious
  •  name-dropper
  •  high and mighty
  •  stiff neck

There are also numerous different words with the opposite meaning of elitist. These oppositions of elitism  are called antonyms, and are another quick and easy way to expand your vocabulary. This list of antonyms is also provided by Power Thesaurus.

  •  equate
  •  matching
  •  meet
  •  evenly matched
  •  peer
  •  unbiased
  •  impartial
  •  parallel
  •  selfsame
  •  identical
  •  equality
  •  coequal
  •  rival
  •  square
  •  fifty-fifty
  •  compare
  •  fair
  •  roadman
  •  touch
  •  egalitarian
  •  just
  •  equally
  •  egalitarianism 
  •  correspond
  •  commensurate
  •  comparable
  •  twin
  •  political theory of pluralism
  •  corresponding
  •  come up to
  •  counterpart
  •  sincere
  •  equalitarian
  •  equalize
  •  proportionate
  •  amount to
  •  alike
  •  errorist
  •  chav
  •  similar
  •  easy
  •  equivalent
  •  tied
  •  adequate
  •  emulate
  •  correspondent
  •  imbecile
  •  even
  •  balance
  •  balanced
  •  forthright
  •  tantamount
  •  unpretentious
  •  compeer
  •  like
  •  match
  •  open
  •  fellow
  •  same
  •  accessible
  •  equitable
  •  uniform
  •  antisnob
  •  populist
  •  level
  •  populism
  •  neck and neck

How can the word elitist be used in a sentence?

The word elitist can be used in many different ways in the English language in both UK and American English. Using words in a sentence is a great way to memorize their definitions. You can also make flashcards, bookmarks and quizzes for yourself to test your knowledge of different definitions. Try using the word elitist in a sentence today! Below are several examples of the word elitist being used in a sentence to help get you started.

Elitist colleges like formal Princeton University create many powerful people with credentials. This reputable institution may give special treatment to movers and shakers with high intellect.

The dictionary club was full of elitists who believed their social standing depended on wealth.. The members of certain groups would debate for yours over what was better – the fifth edition dictionary of the English language, unabridged 8th edition, unabridged 2nd edition, Spanish dictionary, German dictionary, Italian dictionary 1st edition or unabridged 7th edition.

The elitist snob believed that their intellectual pretension was the virtue of their superiority. He thought that moral problems were an intrinsic quality, and only the hands of a limited number of people could register morals.

Overall, the word elitist means someone or something that believes they are better than someone or something else. The word elitist is usually used to describe someone who is pretentious and thinks that they are superior to others for no reason.


  1. elitist: meaning, translation | Elitist 
  2. Elitist definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary 
  3. Elitist synonyms – 140 Words and Phrases for Elitist | Power Thesaurus 
  4. elitist | Origin and meaning of elitist | Online Etymology Dictionary 
  5. Elitist antonyms – 14 Opposites of Elitist | Power Thesaurus