a class act

something brilliant


a class act = Spitzenklasse ——- to be a class act = Spitze sein



“It was A CLASS ACT, with women who still had all the moves, regardless of how long it had been since some of them had danced. And their huge smiles said it all.”

Paul Brooks - The New Zealand Herald (11th April 2021)

Did you

a class act
noun phrase

- a person or group with great style and skill

- if you say that someone such as a sports player or a performer is a class act, you mean that they are very good at what they do

Macmillan Dictionary / Collins Dictionary


The use of “class”, in the sense of “elegant, refined, tasteful” originated in the second half of the 1800s in sports, where it described an athlete with such admirable qualities. The word “act” was added in the second half of the 1900s.


- Muhammad Ali (in sports) = Ali was not only one of the greatest boxers of all time, but he was also known for his charity work and social activism. He used his platform and fame to speak out against injustice and to promote peace and understanding.

- Marie Curie (in science) = Not only was she a pioneering scientist who made important contributions to the fields of physics and chemistry, but she was also a strong advocate for women’s education and equality. Despite facing significant barriers and discrimination due to her gender, she persevered and became the first woman to win two Nobel Prizes.

- Meryl Streep (in film & theatre) = With a career spanning over four decades, Streep is widely regarded as one of the greatest actresses of all time. In addition to her acting talent, she is known for her graciousness and professionalism, both on and off the stage. She has received numerous awards and accolades for her performances, as well as for her charitable work and advocacy.

- Nelson Mandela (in politics) = Mandela was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He is known for his leadership, wisdom, and integrity, and for his efforts to bring about reconciliation and healing in a country that had been deeply divided by racial segregation and discrimination. Despite facing immense challenges and adversity, Mandela remained committed to non-violent resistance and to the promotion of human rights and justice.


- endowed with special abilities indicative of skill or talent

A1, accomplished, A CLASS ACT, ace, ahead of one’s peers, awesome, big/major-league, champion, crackerjack, exceptionally/extraordinarily good (skilled), exemplary, exquisite, faultless, first-class (-rate), flawless, golden, highly endowed (qualified, skilled), impeccable, know one’s business (onions, stuff, the ropes, the score), magic, magisterial, number-one, out of this world, outstanding, peerless, prodigious, Promethean, shining at, spot-on, star, stellar, stupendous, superlative, supreme, tip-top, top-drawer (-hole, -notch), topflight, unrivaled, whiz, wicked, wizard, world-class

SMUGGLE OWAD into an English conversation, say something like:

"Have you seen Meryl Streep's portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in the film "The Iron Lady" (2011), for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress? It's A CLASS ACT performance."

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