• synonyms


verb (used with object)
  1. to choose in preference to another or others; pick out.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to make a choice; pick.
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  1. chosen in preference to another or others; selected.
  2. choice; of special value or excellence.
  3. careful or fastidious in selecting; discriminating.
  4. carefully or fastidiously chosen; exclusive: a select group of friends.
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Origin of select

1555–65; < Latin sēlēctus (past participle of sēligere to gather apart), equivalent to sē- se- + leg(ere) to gather, choose + -tus past participle suffix
Related formsse·lec·ta·ble, adjectivese·lec·ta·bil·i·ty, nounse·lect·ly, adverbse·lect·ness, nounse·lec·tor, nounnon·se·lect·ed, adjectivere·se·lect, verb (used with object)un·se·lect, adjectiveun·se·lect·ed, adjectivewell-se·lect·ed, adjective

Synonym study

1. See choose.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for selector

Historical Examples

  • When the Crown Prince assented, he snapped on the screen and twiddled at the selector.

    Space Viking

    Henry Beam Piper

  • He flipped an index, then punched a combination of numbers on his selector.

    Alarm Clock

    Everett B. Cole

  • A selector's boy, riding into sight at the moment, was hailed.

    Colonial Born

    G. Firth Scott

  • That which takes the place of the breeder and selector in nature is Death.

  • The selector himself is standing against a fence talking to a neighbour.

British Dictionary definitions for selector


  1. a person or thing that selects
  2. a device used in automatic telephone switching that connects one circuit with any one of a number of other circuits
  3. British a person who chooses the members of a sports team
  4. Australian the holder of a tract of land acquired by free-selection
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  1. to choose (someone or something) in preference to another or others
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  1. Also: selected chosen in preference to another or others
  2. of particular quality or excellence
  3. limited as to membership or entrya select gathering
  4. careful in making a choice
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Derived Formsselectly, adverbselectness, noun

Word Origin

C16: from Latin sēligere to sort, from sē- apart + legere to choose
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 selector



1560s, from Latin selectus, past participle of seligere "choose out, single out, select; separate, cull," from se- "apart" (see secret (n.)) + legere "to gather, select" (see lecture (n.)). The noun meaning "a selected person or thing, that which is choice" is recorded from c.1600. New England selectman first recorded 1640s.

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1560s, from select (adj.) or from Latin selectus. Related: Selected; selecting.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper