col·​lec·​tive | \ kə-ˈlek-tiv How to pronounce collective (audio) \

Definition of collective

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : denoting a number of persons or things considered as one group or whole flock is a collective word
2a : formed by collecting : aggregated
b of a fruit : multiple
3a : of, relating to, or being a group of individuals
b : involving all members of a group as distinct from its individuals a collective action
4 : marked by similarity among or with the members of a group the collective interests of the town
5 : collectivized or characterized by collectivism collective farming collective communities
6 : shared or assumed by all members of the group collective responsibility the collective opinion of the staff collective guilt



Definition of collective (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a collective body : group a social collective
2 : a cooperative unit or organization specifically : collective farm
3 : a helicopter control system governing lift

Other Words from collective


collectively adverb

Examples of collective in a Sentence

Adjective We made a collective decision to go on strike. The incident became part of our collective memory. the collective wisdom of generations
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective If those sounds didn't trigger a collective memory from 1963, the sight of an attendant holding the queen's favorite horse as the hearse carrying Elizabeth's remains passed on its way to Windsor castle probably did. David Zurawik, CNN, 19 Sep. 2022 Britain has a new monarch, King Charles III, who can match neither his mother’s popularity nor her place in the collective memory of a nostalgia-prone country. Simon Montlake, The Christian Science Monitor, 19 Sep. 2022 War photographs can serve as memento mori, important tokens of a nation's collective memory and essential tools to hold authorities accountable. Alessia Glaviano, Vogue, 12 Sep. 2022 The significance of a full moon is deep in our ancestral DNA and collective memory. Emily Newhouse, Allure, 9 Sep. 2022 But like most post-Holocaust American Jews, there was collective generational trauma — as well as personal tragedies, from death to drug addiction — that acted as a connective tissue between Howard and Ben Stern and the families tuning in to listen. Malina Saval, Variety, 6 Sep. 2022 And several hot summers from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s still rank among England’s hottest—including the standout summer of 1976, which is still a touchstone in the country’s collective memory. Andrea Thompson, Scientific American, 31 Aug. 2022 With the collective trauma of the pandemic, romance seems particularly soft as late — an even comfier spot to land than the promise of an HEA already offers. Maureen Lee Lenker,, 30 Aug. 2022 Modern media is helping to archive the collective trauma of the partition and bring it to a new generation, Dhillon, the global migration specialist, said. Sakshi Venkatraman, NBC News, 15 Aug. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun We are trapped in certain behaviors that get recycled and repeated in different permutations again and again, as individuals and as a collective. Abbey White, The Hollywood Reporter, 16 Aug. 2022 This 12-acre orchard with over 100 pecan trees planted in the 1930s is a collective of farm-to-table businesses. Shanti Lerner, The Arizona Republic, 27 July 2022 Bethany explained that the back of the building will be for workshops, while the front will be a retail shop selling the goods made in the collective. Sofia Krusmark, The Arizona Republic, 18 Aug. 2022 The new film's executive producers include Williamson and Chad Villella, who is Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillett's partner in the Radio Silence creative collective. Clark Collis,, 14 July 2022 But in a really fine collective, Lozano, playing a struggling single mother with a questionable boyfriend (Balogun, wrestling with demons) and a deep hole in the heart, is truly exceptional. Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune, 11 July 2022 After achieving that goal, the state agency was converted to a nonprofit, Century Housing Corp., a social impact lender that has helped finance thousands of affordable-housing units in California, and one of the three partners in the collective. Doug Smithsenior Writer, Los Angeles Times, 26 June 2022 Among the most prominent in Perrier-Jouët's artist collective is Miguel Chevalier, who came to prominence for digital art starting in the 1980s. Rachel King, Fortune, 30 Apr. 2022 According to reports from PBS Newshour and The Verge, the sales have garnered more than half a million dollars, allowing the women in the collective to pay off debts and buy property. al, 30 Mar. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'collective.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of collective


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1655, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for collective


Middle English collectif, borrowed from Anglo-French & Medieval Latin; Anglo-French, borrowed from Medieval Latin collēctīvus, going back to Late Latin, "comprehensive, (in logic and grammar) inferential," going back to Latin, "preceding by inference, deductive," from collēctus, past participle of colligere "to gather together, assemble, accumulate, deduce, infer" + -īvus -ive — more at collect entry 2


derivative of collective entry 1

Learn More About collective

Time Traveler for collective

Time Traveler

The first known use of collective was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near collective

collection station


collective action

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Statistics for collective

Last Updated

29 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Collective.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Sep. 2022.

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More Definitions for collective


col·​lec·​tive | \ kə-ˈlek-tiv How to pronounce collective (audio) \

Kids Definition of collective

1 : having to do with a number of persons or things thought of as a whole collective nouns
2 : done or shared by a number of persons as a group Neighbors made a collective effort to pick up litter.

Other Words from collective

collectively adverb


col·​lec·​tive | \ kə-ˈlek-tiv How to pronounce collective (audio) \

Legal Definition of collective

: involving all members of a group as distinct from individual members

Other Words from collective

collectively adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on collective

Nglish: Translation of collective for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of collective for Arabic Speakers


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