Definition of grandee in English:



  • 1A Spanish or Portuguese nobleman of the highest rank.

    • ‘The atmospheric spot is decorated like a Spanish grandee's mansion.’
    • ‘With only 30 bedrooms, each stylishly decorated and furnished, this aristocratic hideaway is the perfect retreat for those who hanker after the Spanish grandee lifestyle.’
    • ‘No sixteenth century Spanish grandee could speak in such terms and Schiller was well aware of the fact.’
    • ‘The decision by the grandees who comprise the commission to launch such a campaign reveals nothing so much as their breathtaking contempt for the intelligence of the average non-voter.’
    nobleman, noblewoman, lord, lady, peer, peeress, peer of the realm, patrician, grandee, titled man, titled person, titled woman
    1. 1.1A person of high rank or eminence.
      ‘several City grandees and eminent lawyers’
      • ‘Its members will likely include chairmen of big companies and other business grandees.’
      • ‘When combined with the conspicuous deployment of troops and liberal dispensation of patronage to the other princes and Court grandees it was enough to ensure victory.’
      • ‘Resplendent as a political grandee, he was representative of a high point of aristocratic parliamentarianism before later developments undermined it.’
      • ‘Passed over for court painter to George III, Reynolds turned to the King's opponents, the Whig grandees and the group that surrounded the Prince of Wales.’
      • ‘The 44-year-old leader has reportedly been taking soundings from party grandees over his strategy for the election and the referendum on the European constitution, which is likely to follow soon afterwards.’
      • ‘The prime minister talked to a few of his grandees.’
      • ‘Four years after his birth in Dunfermline, in 1600, it was thought a good idea to crown the boy King of Scots, but the Scots grandees objected.’
      • ‘He hoped to use the reform movement to advance his career but the step split the Whigs, aristocratic grandees like the duke of Portland and Earl Fitzwilliam being frightened by the prospect of the spread of the French Revolution.’
      • ‘The Tory grandee has held this seat for 35 years; his majority stands at 7,000.’
      • ‘Elsewhere populism drew upon a peasantry tied to the land as part of the ownership by an aristocracy or local grandees of large estates, as in tsarist Russia and even today in South America and India.’
      • ‘He was the first Tory leader to be elected as party head, rather than emerge from a mysterious process of selection by the circle of aristocratic grandees.’
      • ‘Only when such elites and grandees see that there are consequences to their cheap slurs and venom on campuses and American television will they ponder their present relationship with the United States.’
      • ‘It comes after Tory grandees agreed a draft new constitution last night, including the plan to scrap the controversial leadership selection model introduced by a former party leader.’
      • ‘Although local concerns need to be fully taken into account, central government should not devolve responsibility to local authorities, nor to unaccountable transport grandees.’
      • ‘Like other grandees, Carter married into another prominent Virginia family.’
      • ‘For years I have heard the grandees of Oxford, Cambridge and London threaten a dash for freedom.’
      • ‘Five days on, this weekend, party grandees are already preparing for the fall-out from another defeat.’
      • ‘Most of the current grandees of the British newspaper industry were there, and I didn't really know what was expected of me.’
      • ‘Millions of proud, educated Europeans are tired of being told by unelected grandees that the mess they see is really abstract art.’
      grandee, important person, VIP, very important person, notable, notability, worthy, personage, luminary, public figure, pillar of society, leading light, leader, panjandrum


Late 16th century from Spanish and Portuguese grande ‘grand’, used as a noun. The change of ending was due to association with -ee.