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
Related formse·lec·tive·ly, adverbe·lec·tive·ness, nounnon·e·lec·tive, adjective, nounnon·e·lec·tive·ly, adverbnon·e·lec·tive·ness, nounpre·e·lec·tive, adjectiveun·e·lec·tive, adjective

Synonyms for elective

Antonyms for elective

5. required, obligatory, necessary.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for elective

Contemporary Examples of elective

Historical Examples of elective

British Dictionary definitions for elective



of or based on selection by voteelective procedure
selected by votean elective official
having the power to elect
open to choice; optionalan elective course of study


an optional course or hospital placement undertaken by a medical student
Derived Formselectively, adverbelectivity (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

Word Origin and History for elective

early 15c., from Late Latin electivus, from electus, past participle of eligere (see election). In reference to school subjects studied at the student's choice, first recorded 1847. As a noun, from 1701.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper