el·​i·​gi·​ble | \ ˈe-lə-jə-bəl How to pronounce eligible (audio) \

Definition of eligible

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : qualified to participate or be chosen eligible to retire
b : permitted under football rules to catch a forward pass
2 : worthy of being chosen an eligible young bachelor


plural eligibles

Definition of eligible (Entry 2 of 2)

: a person or thing that is qualified or permitted to do or be something : one that is eligible for something As with the College of Cardinals and the papacy, where every cardinal, in theory, is eligible to be Pope but the number of real eligibles is substantially smaller, so with the American Presidency.— Stephen R. Graubard … when she entered life, beautiful, accomplished, and an heiress, she had, of course, all the eligibles … of the other sex sighing at her feet …— Harriet Beecher Stowe

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Other Words from eligible


eligibly \ ˈe-​lə-​jə-​blē How to pronounce eligible (audio) \ adverb

Examples of eligible in a Sentence

Adjective … more than six years since the fall of the Taliban, fewer than 30% of eligible girls are enrolled in schools, and the infrastructure is so poor that only a tiny fraction are likely to get the education they need to enjoy the fruits of emancipation. — Aryn Baker, Time, 28 Jan. 2008 She wanted to start her own family. She was twenty-six and without prospects. At church her mother prayed, and at Crystal Nail, where she lacquered and lengthened, her mother asked customers about eligible young men. She kept Li En's graduation photo mounted in the right corner of her mirror, so that every customer would see her daughter, diploma in hand. — Max Apple, Atlantic, November 2003 I'd like to join but I'm not eligible yet.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Gonzalez, 22, is with the team already and will be eligible for Saturday’s exhibition game against Chattanooga FC. Jonathan Saxon, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville City FC City signs MLS' Jorge Gonzalez to loan deal for season," 3 Apr. 2021 According to President Joe Biden, 90% of all adult Americans will be eligible for vaccination by April 19. Theresa Waldrop, CNN, "Read these tips before getting your Covid-19 vaccine," 3 Apr. 2021 Everyone age 16 and older will be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine in Michigan starting Monday. Christina Hall, Detroit Free Press, "Whitmer: Fewer people with antibodies, more mobility contributing to high COVID-19 rates," 2 Apr. 2021 If at any point during the review process the signature count falls below the minimum 9,093 required, the verification process will end and the measure won't be eligible for the ballot, according to the city. Alison Steinbach, The Arizona Republic, "Foes of Mesa’s nondiscrimination ordinance file 11,505 signatures for referendum effort," 2 Apr. 2021 Spitzer said Thursday that the suspect is eligible for the death penalty, calling the incident a special circumstances case with multiple victims. NBC News, "Man accused of killing four in Calif. shooting charged with murder; victims identified," 2 Apr. 2021 Oregon remains committed to its timeline where all Oregonians statewide would be eligible for a vaccine appointment by May 1. oregonlive, "Am I eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine? Oregon expands eligibility to include families of frontline workers, more health conditions," 2 Apr. 2021 Businesses that do not comply with the order will not be eligible for contracts or grants funded through state revenue, according to the executive order. Skyler Swisher, sun-sentinel.com, "Gov. Ron DeSantis issues order banning ‘vaccine passports’," 2 Apr. 2021 And Credit River soon will be eligible for state funds from several new sources, including through Local Government Aid, township officials said. Erin Adler, Star Tribune, "Credit River Township to become a city in May," 2 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Every American eligible for the vaccine by -- adult American by May 1st. ABC News, "TRANSCRIPT: ABC News' George Stephanopoulos interviews President Joe Biden," 17 Mar. 2021 The town’s mobile clinic found itself Tuesday at Vernon Village, a housing community with a majority of its population age-eligible for the vaccine. Jessika Harkay, courant.com, "Vernon brings COVID-19 vaccine directly to homebound residents in mobile home park in continued effort to target hard to reach communities," 9 Mar. 2021 Any deal would have to start with Baynes, who became trade eligible last weekend. Chris Fedor, cleveland, "Cleveland Cavaliers taking calls on Andre Drummond, but trade could be difficult," 15 Feb. 2021 Customers can enter their zip code to find participating Aldi stores and select items that are EBT-SNAP eligible. Nushrat Rahman, Detroit Free Press, "Instacart, Aldi extend SNAP benefits program to Michigan, offer free delivery," 4 Jan. 2021 As many as 15 are age-eligible for the Tokyo Olympics next summer. USA TODAY, "How to watch U.S. men's soccer team vs. El Salvador: TV channel, live stream, start time, USMNT roster," 10 Dec. 2020 Instead, Frederick will be joining the new MLB Draft League for draft-eligible college juniors to continue to play and get exposure before the July amateur draft, according to a report from Baseball America. Jon Meoli, baltimoresun.com, "Frederick Keys lose Orioles affiliation, will play in new MLB Draft League in 2021, per report," 9 Dec. 2020 As Jeremy Pelzer writes, nursing-home staffers, health-care workers, and other first-responders will be among the first eligible for the vaccine. Andrew J. Tobias, cleveland, "Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine says first coronavirus vaccine doses coming in mid-December: Capitol Letter," 25 Nov. 2020 That frontcourt duo has departed but the Huskies have veterans back in Nahziah Carter (12.2 ppg, 4.9 rpg) and Hameir Wright (5.6 ppg) with Green eligible again to serve as catalyst. Michelle Gardner, The Arizona Republic, "Pac-12 men's basketball season shaping up to be strong battle for supremacy," 21 Nov. 2010

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

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First Known Use of eligible


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1656, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for eligible


Middle English, from Late Latin eligibilis, from Latin eligere to choose — more at elect

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Time Traveler for eligible

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for eligible

Last Updated

6 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Eligible.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/eligible. Accessed 17 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for eligible



English Language Learners Definition of eligible

: able to be chosen for something : able to do or receive something
: suitable and desirable for marriage


el·​i·​gi·​ble | \ ˈe-li-jə-bəl How to pronounce eligible (audio) \

Kids Definition of eligible

: qualified to be chosen, to participate, or to receive You're eligible for a loan.

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Comments on eligible

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