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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for collectively

Contemporary Examples of collectively

Historical Examples of collectively

  • The human race, collectively, exclusive of the anthropoid poets.

  • "This is the famous Hughes Junior," said David, introducing him to them collectively.

    Miss Pat at School

    Pemberton Ginther

  • Nor are his own feet his only consideration; his dogs' feet are, collectively, as important as his own.

  • Therefore, it is of no value to say we were collectively hypnotized.

    The Shadow World

    Hamlin Garland

  • We call them collectively the Tricolor, and Anne Denham is the governess.

British Dictionary definitions for collectively



formed or assembled by collection
forming a whole or aggregate
of, done by, or characteristic of individuals acting in cooperation


  1. a cooperative enterprise or unit, such as a collective farm
  2. the members of such a cooperative
short for collective noun
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 collectively



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper