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[si-lekt] /sɪˈlɛkt/
verb (used with object)
to choose in preference to another or others; pick out.
verb (used without object)
to make a choice; pick.
chosen in preference to another or others; selected.
Synonyms: preferred.
choice; of special value or excellence.
careful or fastidious in selecting; discriminating.
carefully or fastidiously chosen; exclusive:
a select group of friends.
Origin of select
1555-65; < Latin sēlēctus (past participle of sēligere to gather apart), equivalent to sē- se- + leg(ere) to gather, choose + -tus past participle suffix
Related forms
selectable, adjective
selectability, noun
selectly, adverb
selectness, noun
selector, noun
nonselected, adjective
reselect, verb (used with object)
unselect, adjective
unselected, adjective
well-selected, adjective
Synonym Study
1. See choose. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for selector
Historical Examples
  • The land must be continuously occupied by the selector residing personally thereon.

    Our First Half-Century Government of Queensland
  • He flipped an index, then punched a combination of numbers on his selector.

    Alarm Clock Everett B. Cole
  • A Grazing Farm must be continuously occupied by the selector residing personally on it, or by his manager or agent doing so.

    Our First Half-Century Government of Queensland
  • When the Crown Prince assented, he snapped on the screen and twiddled at the selector.

    Space Viking Henry Beam Piper
  • The selector and telephone set at an office are taken off these inside contacts through a key, as shown.

  • A selector's boy, riding into sight at the moment, was hailed.

    Colonial Born G. Firth Scott
  • That which takes the place of the breeder and selector in nature is Death.

  • Then the dummy's dog tackled the selector's dog and this precipitated things.

    While the Billy Boils Henry Lawson
  • They were all staring at the double dot, where the selector focused sharply now.

    An Empty Bottle Mari Wolf
  • He thoughtfully flicked the selector to the explosive side of the clip.

    Black Man's Burden Dallas McCord Reynolds
British Dictionary definitions for selector


a person or thing that selects
a device used in automatic telephone switching that connects one circuit with any one of a number of other circuits
(Brit) a person who chooses the members of a sports team
(Austral) the holder of a tract of land acquired by free-selection


to choose (someone or something) in preference to another or others
Also selected. chosen in preference to another or others
of particular quality or excellence
limited as to membership or entry: a select gathering
careful in making a choice
Derived Forms
selectly, adverb
selectness, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin sēligere to sort, from sē- apart + legere to choose
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for selector



1560s, from Latin selectus, past participle of seligere "choose out, single out, select; separate, cull," from se- "apart" (see secret (n.)) + legere "to gather, select" (see lecture (n.)). The noun meaning "a selected person or thing, that which is choice" is recorded from c.1600. New England selectman first recorded 1640s.


1560s, from select (adj.) or from Latin selectus. Related: Selected; selecting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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selector in Technology

1. In Smalltalk or Objective C, the syntax of a message which selects a particular method in the target object.
2. An operation that returns the state of an object but does not alter that state. Selector functions or methods often have names which begin with "get" and corresponding modifier methods or procedures whose names begin with "set".

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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