Erudite Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How to Use It?

When someone is an erudite scholar or a book is labeled erudite, what does that mean? This article will cover the meaning of erudite and much more!

Your writing, at its best

Compose bold, clear, mistake-free, writing with Grammarly's AI-powered writing assistant

Have you ever been able to put that book down and simply enjoy furthering your education? Do you strive to learn about topics and discoveries that may only be known by a select few persons, perhaps? You may have erudite traits, or maybe one day you will become an erudite scholar. 

Well, wait, what exactly does erudite mean? We’ll tell you. Read on to learn more about the word erudite.

What Does Erudite Mean?

The Cambridge English dictionary defines erudite as showing a profound and extensive knowledge; simply, an erudite is scholarly and well-read with a vast range of knowledge.

For example, you can use the word erudite to describe a golfer if that golfer could tell you the maximum velocity a golf ball can achieve or other tidbits that only a few know. You could also use erudite to define a person with a great passion for art when they want to have an erudite discussion on different musical genres.

The History Behind the Word Erudite

The word erudite came to be in the early 15th century. Erudite came from the Latin eruditus — or more specifically the Latin ērudītus — which means well-informed, accomplished, or learned. It also has roots in the Middle English erudit. Eruditus is also a past participle of ērudīre “to instruct, polish or educate.”

Looking closely at the verb, it is formed when you combine the prefix e- (“absent or “missing”) with the adjective rudis, which by definition means “ignorant” or “rude.”

Following this trail of thought, rudis is the source for the English word rude. Rude means something uncouth or discourteous. However, rude can have another meaning: “uncivilized” or “lacking refinement.”

If we take into account this knowledge and history of the root words, we see that the word erudite stays true to its etymology. An erudite is a person who transformed from their uniformed or rough state to a well-polished one through their devotion to learning.

What Are the Synonyms and Antonyms of Erudite

Since the adjective erudite has two slightly varying meanings, it has a few slightly varying synonym, too. A synonym is a word that has nearly the same meaning as the original word, and at times these two words have precisely the same meaning. Below, you will find two separate lists to help better understand erudite’s synonyms and definitions.

Synonyms of Erudite

When referring to a person with great knowledge, you can use these synonyms:

  • Bookish
  • Cerebral
  • Learned
  • Pedantic
  • Widely Read
  • Sapient
  • Well-Educated
  • Genius
  • Cultivated
  • Cultured
  • Intellectual
  • Knowledgeable
  • Enlightened
  • Brainy
  • Illuminated
  • Sagacious
  • Sophisticated
  • Literate
  • Studious
  • Academic
  • Intellectual

If the adjective is intended for a specialized group of individuals, try these:

  • Rarefied
  • Inscrutable
  • Abstruse
  • Mystic
  • Impenetrable
  • Cabbalistic
  • Incomprehensible
  • Delphic
  • Esoteric
  • Recondite
  • Perplexing
  • Secret
  • Deep
  • Hermetic
  • Occult
  • Cryptic

Antonyms of Erudite

The same can be said for antonyms of erudite. Since there are two slightly varying definitions, we have two slightly varying sets of antonyms. Below you will find examples of both variations.

When speaking about someone who is the opposite of highly intellectually capable, try these:

  • Chucklehead
  • Dorky
  • Dull
  • Thick-witted
  • Thickheaded
  • Senseless
  • Lamebrained
  • Fatuous
  • Dopey
  • Bubbleheaded
  • Stupid
  • Opaque
  • Obtuse
  • Pinheaded
  • Unintelligent
  • Vacuous
  • Weak-minded
  • Witless
  • Birdbrained
  • Brain-dead
  • Brainless

When referring to the opposite of showing or having great knowledge, use these words:

  • Uneducated
  • Ignorant
  • Dark
  • Shallow
  • Uncultured
  • Illiterate
  • Non-Literary
  • Informal
  • Moronic
  • Uninstructed
  • Simple
  • Mindless
  • Poorly Educated
  • Dense
  • Thick
  • Insensible
  • Naive
  • Unstudious
  • Analphabetic
  • Nescient
  • Unaware
  • Oblivious
  • Unsuspecting

How to Properly Utilize the Word Erudite

To help further your understanding of the word erudite, we have rounded up a shortlist of example sentences. Below you will find some helpful examples of how to properly use erudite in a sentence:

  • Many erudite scholars were delighted to receive their own 5th edition copy of The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language.
  • When studying the erudite work of Francis Parkman, we find he was not only an outstanding linguist but one of the top interpreters of literature, namely French literature.
  • While I often think of myself as a friendly seaweed expert, my erudite commentary on the different types of seaweed left my friends in awe.
  • The late Middle English erudite professor had a lot of knowledge on the subject and could speak freely on it for hours.
  • The erudite student joined a small group of intellects to study for an upcoming quiz. 
  • I am an erudite scholar that loves to lounge on a remote beach with a shot of tequila to relax after a long week. 
  • As an erudite, I’ve shown extensive scholarship


In conclusion, erudite means not only what a person is showing great knowledge but can also be used to characterize such a scholarly and, well, erudite individual. 


  1. Erudite definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary 
  2. Erudite Definition & Meaning |
  3. ERUDITE | definition in the | Cambridge English Dictionary