verb (used with object)

to choose in preference to another or others; pick out.

verb (used without object)

to make a choice; pick.


chosen in preference to another or others; selected.
choice; of special value or excellence.
careful or fastidious in selecting; discriminating.
carefully or fastidiously chosen; exclusive: a select group of friends.

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

Examples from the Web for selector

Historical Examples of selector

  • 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



a person or thing that selects
a device used in automatic telephone switching that connects one circuit with any one of a number of other circuits
British a person who chooses the members of a sports team
Australian the holder of a tract of land acquired by free-selection



to choose (someone or something) in preference to another or others


Also: selected chosen in preference to another or others
of particular quality or excellence
limited as to membership or entrya select gathering
careful in making a choice
Derived Formsselectly, adverbselectness, noun

Word Origin for select

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.



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper