Crème de la crème

Crème de la crème translates into "cream of the cream," in cooking terms meaning cream undergoing a deluxe treatment.

Usage

The phrase also has a figurative meaning that it is most commonly known by, this being: the top, the best of the best or somewhat elite, also expressed as "the cream of the crop." Analogues can be drawn to the cooking term, meaning in some terms the same thing.

Origins

Its origins have been traced to the decade 1840-1850,[1] but its popularity in modern English (it is less common in modern French)[2] is attributed to its use by the lead character in Muriel Spark's 1961 novel The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, in which the intensely authoritative girl's school teacher refers to her charges with this epithet.[3] The line from the novel reads, "'I am putting old heads on your young shoulders,' Miss Brodie had told them at that time, 'and all my pupils are the crème de la crème.'"[4]

See also:

Synonyms - Cream of the crop, best of the best

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