[ si-lek-tiv ]
/ sɪˈlɛk tɪv /


having the function or power of selecting; making a selection.
characterized by selection, especially fastidious selection.
of or relating to selection.
Electricity, Radio. having good selectivity.

Nearby words

  1. selecta,
  2. selectance,
  3. selectee,
  4. selection,
  5. selection rule,
  6. selective attention,
  7. selective inhibition,
  8. selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor,
  9. selective service,
  10. selective service system

Origin of selective

First recorded in 1615–25; select + -ive

Related formsse·lec·tive·ly, adverbse·lec·tive·ness, nounnon·se·lec·tive, adjectiveun·se·lec·tive, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for selective

British Dictionary definitions for selective


/ (sɪˈlɛktɪv) /


of or characterized by selection
tending to choose carefully or characterized by careful choice
electronics occurring at, operating at, or capable of separating out a particular frequency or band of frequencies
Derived Formsselectively, adverbselectiveness, 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 selective



1620s; see select (adj.) + -ive. Related: Selectively; selectiveness. Selective service is from 1917, American English.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper