eminence

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Related to éminence: éminence grise

éminence grise

Someone who is powerful in a particular area without having an official title. The phrase, French for "grey eminence," originally applied to one of Cardinal Richelieu's advisors, a monk who wore a grey robe. A: "Why should I worry about what Bob thinks? He doesn't even have a title!" B: "Yes, but he's the éminence grise of the firm, and the partners really value his opinion."
See also: eminence

gray eminence

Someone who wields substantial power, authority, or influence from a secret, anonymous, or unofficial position, as within a monarchy or political hierarchy. Derived from the French term éminence grise. The wealthy oil baron became known as something of a gray eminence behind the governorship of the state throughout the late 1960s.
See also: eminence, gray
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

gray eminence

The power behind the throne; a person who wields considerable power but secretly or surreptitiously. The term is a translation from the French of éminence grise. This phrase originally referred to François Leclerc du Tremblay (1577–1638), the trusted behind-the-scenes adviser of Cardinal Richelieu. The term came into English in the early 1940s when Aldous Huxley wrote a book about Tremblay entitled Grey Eminence (1941). See also power behind the throne.
See also: eminence, gray
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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