[ ih-lek-tiv ]
See synonyms for elective on Thesaurus.com
  1. pertaining to the principle of electing to an office, position, etc.

  2. chosen by election, as an official.

  1. bestowed by or derived from election, as an office.

  2. having the power or right of electing to office, as a body of persons.

  3. open to choice; optional; not required: an elective subject in college; elective surgery.

  4. Chemistry. selecting for combination or action; tending to combine with certain substances in preference to others: elective attraction.

  1. an optional study; a course that a student may select from among alternatives.

Origin of elective

1520–30; <Medieval Latin ēlēctīvus, equivalent to Latin ēlēct(us) (see elect) + -īvus-ive

Other words for elective

Opposites for elective

Other words from elective

  • e·lec·tive·ly, adverb
  • e·lec·tive·ness, noun
  • non·e·lec·tive, adjective, noun
  • non·e·lec·tive·ly, adverb
  • non·e·lec·tive·ness, noun
  • pre·e·lec·tive, adjective
  • un·e·lec·tive, adjective

Words Nearby elective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use elective in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for elective


/ (ɪˈlɛktɪv) /

  1. of or based on selection by vote: elective procedure

  2. selected by vote: an elective official

  1. having the power to elect

  2. open to choice; optional: an elective course of study

  1. an optional course or hospital placement undertaken by a medical student

Derived forms of elective

  • electively, adverb
  • electivity (ˌiːlɛkˈtɪvɪtɪ) or electiveness, 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