adjective elec·tive \i-ˈlek-tiv\

Definition of ELECTIVE

a :  chosen or filled by popular election <an elective official>
b :  of or relating to election
c :  based on the right or principle of election <the presidency is an elective office>
a :  permitting a choice :  optional <an elective course in school>
b :  beneficial to the patient but not essential for survival <elective surgery>
a :  tending to operate on one substance rather than another <elective absorption>
b :  favorably inclined to one more than to another :  sympathetic <an elective affinity>
elec·tive·ly adverb
elec·tive·ness noun

Examples of ELECTIVE

  1. He's never held an elective office.
  2. Plastic surgery is elective surgery.
  3. She took three elective courses last term.

First Known Use of ELECTIVE

circa 1531

Other Government and Politics Terms

agent provocateur, agitprop, autarky, cabal, egalitarianism, federalism, hegemony, plenipotentiary, popular sovereignty, socialism



: a class that is not required in a particular course of study

Full Definition of ELECTIVE

:  an elective course or subject

Examples of ELECTIVE

  1. She's taking several electives this year.

First Known Use of ELECTIVE


Other Education Terms

baccalaureate, colloquium, corequisite, dissertation, monograph, pedant, practicum, survey course, thesis
ELECTIVE Defined for Kids


adjective elec·tive \i-ˈlek-tiv\

Definition of ELECTIVE for Kids

:  chosen or filled by election <an elective official> <an elective position>
Medical Dictionary


adjective elec·tive \i-ˈlek-tiv\

Medical Definition of ELECTIVE

:  beneficial to the patient but not essential for survival <an elective appendectomy>


Next Word in the Dictionary: electorPrevious Word in the Dictionary: election posiesAll Words Near: elective
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears