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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Tipsters can remain anonymous, and be eligible for rewards of up to $2,000, by contacting Crime Stoppers Atlanta at 404-577-8477, texting information to 274637 or visiting the Crime Stoppers website. Chelsea Prince, ajc, 9 May 2022 About 48 million households, or nearly 40% of those in the country, are eligible for the broadband benefit. Michael Collins, USA TODAY, 9 May 2022 Those who call the department's tip line will be able to do so confidentially and could be eligible for a cash reward. Tori B. Powell, CBS News, 7 May 2022 An additional 156 people will be chosen as a control group that will not receive payments but will be eligible for incentives in return for participating in research. Emily Opilo, Baltimore Sun, 6 May 2022 Homeowners are eligible for up to $30,000 in grants. Ginny Monk, Hartford Courant, 6 May 2022 For example, in some cases, a borrower must take several steps to be eligible for loan forgiveness rather than having their debt automatically canceled. Kat Mckim, Fortune, 6 May 2022 But kids under five still weren’t eligible for the vaccines, and 20 percent of U.S. adults–50 million people–refused to get jabbed under any circumstances. David Axe, Rolling Stone, 5 May 2022 McKinstry is the only experienced starter in Alabama’s secondary that is not eligible for the 2023 draft. Mike Rodak | Mrodak@al.com, al, 5 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The scouting combine is a four-day, invitation-only event that allows NFL scouts to evaluate that year’s top draft-eligible college players on a variety of medical, mental, and physical criteria. Jason Beede, orlandosentinel.com, 28 Jan. 2022 On fourth down, New York went for it, and Wilson found McDermott, a tackle eligible, for a touchdown to put the Jets up 23-15 with 9:16 left. Dennis Waszak Jr., courant.com, 26 Dec. 2021 Years from now, when Curry retires and waits to become Hall-of-Fame eligible, he will be remembered as a basketball legend. Connor Letourneau, San Francisco Chronicle, 14 Dec. 2021 Having Hawaii bowl eligible allows the Rainbow Warriors to play in the Hawaii Bowl. Ralh D. Russo, Chron, 3 Dec. 2021 That's when Big Blue pulled off some trickery as Andrew Thomas reported as tackle eligible - technically a tight end on the left side - and no one covered him. Art Stapleton, USA TODAY, 23 Nov. 2021 Louisville isn't bowl eligible without Malik Cunningham. Cameron Teague Robinson, The Courier-Journal, 19 Nov. 2021 The victory makes Oregon State (6-4, 4-3 Pac-12) bowl eligible for the first time since 2013, and snapped an 11-game losing streak against the Cardinal. Gary Horowitz, San Francisco Chronicle, 13 Nov. 2021 Residents of long-term care facilities and adults over age 65 were among the first eligible for vaccination. Julia Musto, Fox News, 18 Nov. 2021 See More

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.

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

Learn More About eligible

Time Traveler for eligible

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near eligible



eligible bachelor

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Statistics for eligible

Last Updated

12 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Eligible.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/eligible. Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for eligible


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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