[el-i-juh-buh l]


fit or proper to be chosen; worthy of choice; desirable: to marry an eligible bachelor.
meeting the stipulated requirements, as to participate, compete, or work; qualified.
legally qualified to be elected or appointed to office: eligible for the presidency.


a person or thing that is eligible: Among the eligibles, only a few are running for office.

Origin of eligible

1555–65; (< Middle French) < Late Latin ēligibilis, equivalent to Latin ē- e-1 + ligi- select + -bilis; see -ible
Related formsel·i·gi·bil·i·ty, el·i·gi·ble·ness, nounel·i·gi·bly, adverbnon·el·i·gi·bil·i·ty, nounnon·el·i·gi·ble, adjectivenon·el·i·gi·bly, adverbpre·el·i·gi·bil·i·ty, nounpre·el·i·gi·ble, adjectivepre·el·i·gi·ble·ness, nounpre·el·i·gi·bly, adverbqua·si-el·i·gi·ble, adjectivequa·si-el·i·gi·bly, adverbre·el·i·gi·bil·i·ty, nounre·el·i·gi·ble, adjectivere·el·i·gi·bly, adjectivesu·per·el·i·gi·bil·i·ty, nounsu·per·el·i·gi·ble, adjectivesu·per·el·i·gi·ble·ness, nounsu·per·el·i·gi·bly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for eligible

Contemporary Examples of eligible

Historical Examples of eligible

  • But, O my dear, the single life is by far the most eligible to me: indeed it is.

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • Women are eligible to membership in this General Conference.

    Samantha Among the Brethren, Part 7.

    Josiah Allen's Wife (Marietta Holley)

  • Why, the demand for eligible males is three hundred per cent.

    The Fortune Hunter

    Louis Joseph Vance

  • Of the eligible men there Mr. Cecil Underwood seemed, on enquiry, to be the most eligible.

  • The question was raised whether, as a prisoner, he was eligible.


    James Anthony Froude

British Dictionary definitions for eligible



fit, worthy, or qualified, as for an office or function
desirable and worthy of being chosen, esp as a spousean eligible young man
Derived Formseligibility, nouneligibly, adverb

Word Origin for eligible

C15: from Late Latin ēligibilis able to be chosen, from ēligere to elect
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 eligible

early 15c., "fit or proper to be chosen," from Middle French eligible "fit to be chosen" (14c.), from Late Latin eligibilis "that may be chosen," from Latin eligere "choose" (see election). Related: Eligibly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper