Crème de la crème

Crème de la crème is an idiom that has been in use for over 150 years. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery or metaphors, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even when the etymology or origin of the idiomatic expression is lost. An idiom is a metaphorical figure of speech, and it is understood that it is not a use of literal language. Figures of speech have definitions and connotations that go beyond the literal meaning of the words. Mastery of the turn of phrase of an idiom, which may use slang words, or other parts of speech is essential for the English learner. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions such as in a blue moon, spill the beans, let the cat out of the bag, in the same boat, bite the bullet, barking up the wrong tree, kick the bucket, hit the nail on the head, face the music, under the weather, piece of cake, when pigs fly, and raining cats and dogs, as they attempt to translate them word for word, which yields only the literal meaning. English phrases that are idioms should not be taken literally. In addition to learning vocabulary and grammar, one must understand the phrasing of the figurative language of idiomatic phrases in order to know English like a native speaker. We will examine the meaning of the idiom crème de la crème, where it came from, and some examples of its use in sentences.

Crème de la crème means the very best of a group of things or people, the superior one, the top of a class. The idiom crème de la crème can refer to something that is the most well made of a category of goods. For instance, a Jaguar may be considered the crème de la crème of sports cars. The expression crème de la crème may also refer to a class of people. In this case, it usually describes people who are socially above others because of their pedigrees or their economic circumstances. The phrase crème de la crème is borrowed from the French and is called a loan phrase or borrowed phrase. Loan phrases or borrowed phrases are terms that have been taken from other languages and used as English phrases. They enter the English language when English speakers come into contact with other languages and cultures. Crème de la crème literally means cream of the cream, meaning the very best of the very best. Currently, the Oxford English Dictionary retains the French spelling with the accent graves. It will be interesting to see if the accents are dropped over time in the way the accents have been dropped in the word résumé by many business writers.


It is a sprightly, humorous wedge of a film, offering up sheer screen escapism and swoon-worthy shows of romance — think strawberries and champagne, beguiling glances over group picnics, and petticoats abound — and boasting a number of fantastic performances from an ensemble cast made up of the crème de la crème of British talent, or as Taylor-Joy calls them, the “merry little gang” of Johnny Flynn, Mia Goth, Josh O’Connor, Callum Turner, Bill Nighy and Miranda Hart. (Wonderland Magazine)

Since May 29, 2019 when Ibadan, the Oyo State, was shaken to its foundation with the inauguration of a governor who never tasted political power, Wednesday, March 18, 2020 was another epoch-making day in Oyo state when the creme de la creme in politics converged on the city of Ibadan, the state capital to make another history. (The New Telegraph)

In other words, you want to invest in the creme de la creme in terms of earnings strength, sales growth, ROE, profit margins, relative price strength vs. the S&P 500 and healthy growth in the number of mutual fund and hedge fund shareholders when a new market rally goes into play. (Investor’s Business Daily)

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