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Date: 1800-1900
Language: French
Origin: éminence grise 'gray eminence', originally used of Père Joseph, adviser of the French minister Cardinal Richelieu

eminence grise

noun
     
em‧i‧nence grise plural eminences grises [countable]
someone who has unofficial power, often secretly, through someone else:
Borusa had no wish to become president, instead preferring to operate as an eminence grise behind the scenes.

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