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 eligibly (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 The effort seeks to narrow the gap between those eligible to vote and those who are registered to vote – a gap that is especially pronounced among Latinos, says center founder and president Page Gardner. USA TODAY, "MLK, robot unemployment, Python Bowl: News from around our 50 states," 14 Jan. 2020 The chances for that waiver remain uncertain though, so Kentucky cannot count on him being eligible this fall. Jon Hale, The Courier-Journal, "How Beau Allen, John Young and other early enrollees can help Kentucky football in 2020," 13 Jan. 2020 The state factors heavily into Trump’s reelection strategy for 2020, one of three in the Midwest that are prime territory for groups — pro-Trump or against him — trying to mobilize anyone who’s eligible to cast a ballot. Washington Post, "Ex-prisoners who can vote sought for Wisconsin 2020 election," 13 Jan. 2020 The Tesla Model 3 is still eligible for a $2,000 rebate. Kathleen Pender, SFChronicle.com, "Tesla left car buyer out in the cold," 11 Jan. 2020 Now, up to 75,000 children in the county will be eligible to enroll. Rachel Dissell, cleveland, "75,000 Cuyahoga kids can get free Imagination Library books in the mail starting next week," 10 Jan. 2020 Danny Santana is arbitration eligible through 2021. Sam Blum, Dallas News, "Joey Gallo, Rangers set to talk numbers as MLB’s arbitration negotiation period begins," 10 Jan. 2020 In addition to being eligible for spaceflight, the astronauts will also support those who are currently in the space station and develop spacecraft for future missions. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Meet NASA's first astronaut graduates of the Artemis program, eligible for missions to the moon and Mars," 10 Jan. 2020 You’ve been marked eligible and must come to the nearest recruitment branch in Jacksonville, Florida for immediate departure to Iran. Russ Read, Washington Examiner, "Tehran suspected of sending fake text message telling Americans they have been drafted for 'war with Iran'," 9 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Hembree and Barnes are arbitration-eligible for the second time, Rodriguez and Betts for the third time, and Bradley and Workman for a fourth time. Alex Speier, BostonGlobe.com, "Red Sox must file arbitration numbers by Friday," 9 Jan. 2020 Both are eligible for free Prime shipping and feature Alexa. CNN Underscored, "Black Friday 2019: The best deals to start shopping now," 27 Nov. 2019 The 6-foot-4, 305-pound redshirt senior has started at right guard in all 10 games for Illinois, which at 6-4 became bowl-eligible for the first time since 2014. Edward Lee, baltimoresun.com, "From Annapolis to Alabama to Illinois, 'versatile human’ Richie Petitbon savoring football journey," 22 Nov. 2019 Heading into his fourth season, Beasley is early extension eligible until Oct. 21. Mike Singer, The Denver Post, "Nuggets Mailbag: Does Malik Beasley’s switch to Klutch Sports signal trouble ahead?," 26 Sep. 2019 Illinois, which is bowl-eligible for the first time since 2014, had a four-game win streak snapped with a 19-10 loss at the then-No. Joe Williams, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "Northwestern-Illinois odds, picks and best bets," 27 Nov. 2019 Arkansas State is bowl-eligible for the ninth consecutive season, and has won at least seven games every year in that stretch. Creg Stephenson | Cstephenson@al.com, al, "Last licks at Ladd: South Alabama set for final game before moving into on-campus stadium," 26 Nov. 2019 Eager to exploit his star’s earnings potential, owner Ganbaatar Dagvadorj invested $200,000 in the supplemental fee to make Mongolian Groom eligible for the $6 million Classic. Tim Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, "Veterinarians: Training videos suggest Mongolian Groom shouldn't have run in Breeders' Cup," 14 Nov. 2019 Establishing an equity program would also make San Diego eligible for a portion of $10 million per year the state has devoted to cannabis equity under a law approved last year in Sacramento. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Proposal would devote millions in San Diego marijuana taxes to low-income communities," 24 Sep. 2019

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

16 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Eligible.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/eligible. Accessed 19 January 2020.

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More Definitions for eligible


How to pronounce eligible (audio)

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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More from Merriam-Webster on eligible

Spanish Central: Translation of eligible

Nglish: Translation of eligible for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of eligible for Arabic Speakers

Comments on eligible

What made you want to look up eligible? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to insert between existing elements

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