éminence-grise

éminence grise

[French ey-mee-nahns greez]
noun, plural éminences grises [French ey-mee-nahns greez] .

Origin:
< French

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World English Dictionary
éminence grise (eminɑ̃s ɡriz)
 
n , pl éminences grises
a person who wields power and influence unofficially or behind the scenes
 
[C19: literally: grey eminence, originally applied to Père Joseph (François Le Clerc du Tremblay; died 1638), French monk, secretary of Cardinal Richelieu]

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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
éminence grise [(ay-meh-nahns greez)]

A person who wields power behind the scenes: “The king's brother-in-law is his éminence grise; he has enormous influence, though he is rarely in the public eye.” A French term meaning “gray eminence.”

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