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.

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

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

Examples from the Web for selectively

Contemporary Examples of selectively

Historical Examples of selectively

  • Apparently just the higher functions of mankind have been interfered with, selectively.

    Planet of the Damned

    Harry Harrison

  • In a tropical forest community, a duller pattern possibly would be more visible and thus would be selectively disadvantageous.

  • Milly was not crudely imitative: she was selectively imitative, and for the present she had chosen Mrs. Kemp for her model.

    One Woman's Life

    Robert Herrick

  • For religious purposes the Zui appear to have selectively produced a great variety of colours in the ears of corn.

  • There were frequencies of other values, which would be selectively absorbed by this material and that.

    The Aliens

    Murray Leinster

British Dictionary definitions for selectively



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 selectively



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper