One word that has lost all meaning: elites
If there’s one word that best typifies the total loss of original definition, it’s probably elites.
Elites, the plural of elite, we’re told by dictionaries near and far, is intended to convey this:
A group or class of persons or a member of such a group or class, enjoying superior intellectual, social, or economic status or the best or most skilled members of a group.
Yet time after time, those referred to as our elites (President Obama, his mighty Administration, the Republican establishment, the Senate, kings of industry like those at JP Morgan, the EU’s leadership, the traditional media, et al.) fail to come close to the definition of the word.
I’m all for using the word when the proverbial shoe fits (for example, Gregg Popovich graduated from the United States Air Force Academy, an elite institution), but most of the time elites is used, it’s totally unrepresentative of it’s original intent, especially as it regards that superior intellect thing.
As William F. Buckley observed, it would be a far, far better thing to be governed by the first 400 people in the Boston phone book than by the Harvard faculty.