Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The world of fashionable society.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The fashionable part of society.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • The fashionable world; people of fashion and gayety.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The fashionable world; people of fashion and gayety, collectively.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the fashionable elite

Etymologies

French : beau, good + monde, world, society.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
French (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • When the French philosopher, author and inveterate womaniser Albert Camus died in a car accident in 1960 just two years after winning the Nobel prize for literature, France's intellectual beau monde mourned what seemed an almost freakish tragedy.

    Albert Camus might have been killed by the KGB for criticising the Soviet Union, claims newspaper

  • It also transported in regal splendor diplomats, divas and duchesses, the beau monde and the demimonde, maharajahs, moguls and con men, courtesans, couriers, private eyes and spies.

    TIME.com: Top Stories

  • But, last Monday, ugliness intruded into this beau monde, in the form of Mr. Arnault's star designer at Christian Dior, John Galliano.

    NYT > Home Page

  • Like tans and Burberry checks, fascinators started as a modish, beau monde affectation and have spiralled their way down via the likes of the middleish Middletons to the hoi polloi - in the process becoming ever more crassly garish.

    Telegraph.co.uk - Telegraph online, Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph

  • Left Bank intellectuals, the luminaries of Paris's beau monde and members of the capital's chattering classes tend to crumple with a mixture of fear and loathing at the mention of Le Pen's name.

    The Guardian World News

  • The scandal has rocked Russia's beau monde, a sliver of society more used to sipping champagne cocktails than discussing political ruptures.

    The Guardian World News

  • I was sunning myself beside the pool of the Gezira Club – the former haunt of British officers during the reign of King Farouk, but now the domain of the Cairene beau monde and assorted foreigners who’d been posted to the Egyptian capital.

    A Special Relationship

  • The Americans I met who hated Paris – and railed against its arrogance – were usually people from smaller, more intimate cities like Boston or San Francisco, where the local beau monde stroked each other’s ego, and anyone in a position of power or authority felt as if they counted.

    The Pursuit of Happiness

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  • The world of high society and fashion. (from WordCraft)

    May 20, 2008