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See more synonyms for collective on Thesaurus.com
  1. formed by collection.
  2. forming a whole; combined: the collective assets of a corporation and its subsidiaries.
  3. of or characteristic of a group of individuals taken together: the collective wishes of the membership.
  4. organized according to the principles of collectivism: a collective farm.
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  1. collective noun.
  2. a collective body; aggregate.
  3. a business, farm, etc., jointly owned and operated by the members of a group.
  4. a unit of organization or the organization in a collectivist system.
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Origin of collective

1400–50; late Middle English collectif (< Middle French) < Latin collēctīvus, equivalent to collēct(us) (past participle of colligere; see collect1) + -īvus -ive
Related formscol·lec·tive·ly, adverbnon·col·lec·tive, adjectivenon·col·lec·tive·ly, adverbun·col·lec·tive, adjectiveun·col·lec·tive·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for collective

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • My friends at least will accept them as such, whether they like their collective title or not.

    A Dish Of Orts

    George MacDonald

  • Collective nouns in Greek and English create a similar but lesser awkwardness.

  • The plan is, therefore, a development of the principle of collective bargaining.

    Herbert Hoover

    Vernon Kellogg

  • Cyrus recognises the ideal principle of co-operation and collective ownership.



  • Take my word for it, the secret of success with "the collective wisdom" is reiteration.

    Lord Kilgobbin

    Charles Lever

British Dictionary definitions for collective


  1. formed or assembled by collection
  2. forming a whole or aggregate
  3. of, done by, or characteristic of individuals acting in cooperation
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    1. a cooperative enterprise or unit, such as a collective farm
    2. the members of such a cooperative
  1. short for collective noun
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Derived Formscollectively, adverbcollectiveness, noun
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

Word Origin and History for collective


early 15c., from Middle French collectif, from Latin collectivus, from collectus (see collect). As a noun, short for collective farm (in the USSR) it dates from 1925. collective farm first attested 1919 in translations of Lenin. Collective bargaining coined 1891 by Beatrice Webb; defined in U.S. 1935 by the Wagner Act. Collective noun is recorded from 1510s; collective security first attested 1934 in speech by Winston Churchill.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper