éminence grise

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English[edit]

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Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From French éminence (power) + grise (gray)

Noun[edit]

éminence grise (plural éminence grises)

  1. A secret or unofficial decision-maker; the power behind the throne.
    • 1987 July 12, John A. Garraty, "Harry's Luck" (book review of Harry Hopkins: Ally of the Poor and Defender of Democracy by George McJimsey), New York Times (retrieved 4 Sep. 2011):
      But Harry Hopkins was no mere manipulator of people and ideas, no eminence grise masterminding the actions of figureheads.
    • 2009 Sept. 16, Coco Masters, "New Prime Minister — and New Shadow Shogun," Time:
      Ozawa is the Secretary-General of Hatoyama's Democratic Party of Japan (DJP) and the éminence grise of the electoral campaign that catapulted the new Prime Minister to power.

Translations[edit]


French[edit]

Noun[edit]

eminence grise f (plural éminences grises)

  1. (idiomatic) éminence grise