power elite

noun
a closely knit alliance of military, government, and corporate officials perceived as the center of wealth and political power in the U.S.

Origin:
1950–55

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Cultural Dictionary

power elite definition


A term used by the American sociologist (see sociology) C. Wright Mills to describe a relatively small, loosely knit group of people who tend to dominate American policymaking. This group includes bureaucratic, corporate, intellectual, military, and government elites who control the principal institutions in the United States and whose opinions and actions influence the decisions of the policymakers.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
The power elite in this country has already bunkered down, and expects food riots, shortages and general rebellion.
But the power elite in civic groups remains heavily white.
The designer is a mainstay of the power elite on this coast as well.
Thus the nation's power elite tolerated its finest filmmakers.
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