se·​lect | \sə-ˈlekt \

Definition of select 

(Entry 1 of 3)

1 : chosen from a number or group by fitness or preference

2a : of special value or excellence : superior, choice

b : exclusively or fastidiously chosen often with regard to social, economic, or cultural characteristics

3 : judicious or restrictive in choice : discriminating pleased with the select appreciation of his books— Osbert Sitwell


selected; selecting; selects

Definition of select (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

: to choose (as by fitness or excellence) from a number or group : pick out

intransitive verb

: to make a choice



Definition of select (Entry 3 of 3)

: one that is select often used in plural

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Other Words from select


selectable \ sə-​ˈlek-​tə-​bəl \ adjective
selectness \ sə-​ˈlek(t)-​nəs \ noun
selector \ sə-​ˈlek-​tər \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for select

Synonyms: Adjective

choice, dainty, delicate, elegant, exquisite, fine, rare, recherché

Synonyms: Verb

cherry-pick, choose, cull, elect, handpick, name, opt (for), pick, prefer, single (out), tag, take

Antonyms: Verb

decline, refuse, reject, turn down

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Examples of select in a Sentence


Only a few select employees attended the meeting. A select committee was formed to plan the project. The group was small and select. A select number of people are invited. Only a select few will be accepted into the program. He only drinks select wines.


Please select one item from the list. The school will only select 12 applicants for enrollment. Knowing the importance of making the right choice, he selected carefully. Select “Insert” from the “Edit” menu.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

There will be a select number of platforms that have direct-to-consumer relationships. Peter Kafka, Recode, "Here’s what HBO’s new boss really said about the company’s plans under AT&T," 10 July 2018 At the same time, Republican and conservative groups have initiated campaigns in select states trying to establish the president’s coming choice as unobjectionable, while urging supportive calls to Senate offices. Carl Hulse, New York Times, "‘It’s a Terrible Vote’: Red-State Democrats Face an Agonizing Supreme Court Choice," 7 July 2018 Mexico is part of a select group that includes only host nation Russia, France and Belgium, in going 2-0-0 and possessing the kind of swaggering confidence that comes with that. Martin Rogers, USA TODAY, "After handling South Korea, swaggering Mexico has legitimate shot to win World Cup," 23 June 2018 Harry Horgan Beauregard had been fine-tuning the vessel for two years with a select group of Shake-A-Leg's campers, many of whom are autistic. Rebecca Ellis, miamiherald, "Shake-A-Leg's fleet mysteriously vandalized in the dead of night," 5 July 2018 But in May, with some controversy, Telegram decided instead to sell $1.7 billion in shares to a select group of private investors, some of whom then sold their holdings for handsome returns on the secondary market. Jacob Silverman, Longreads, "Private Telegram, Public Strife," 3 July 2018 In an interview with NBC News, Hudson Taylor, the executive director of Athlete Ally, a group that aims to end the homophobia in sports, said Martin joins a select group of male professional athletes who came out publicly. NBC News, "Collin Martin, Major League Soccer player, says, 'I'm gay'," 29 June 2018 While this function is certainly useful, there are a number of features missing from the test iteration the company is releasing today to a select group of users. Madeline Buxton,, "A New Facebook Control Helps You Avoid Spoiler Alerts," 27 June 2018 Deliveries will also include select alcohol products in four of the five cities, except Indianapolis. Kevin Kelleher, Fortune, "Amazon Is Expanding Whole Foods Deliveries to These 5 Cities," 26 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

According to Team USA, the American athletes who make up the next Olympic team won’t be selected until the next U.S. Olympic Trials, which will take place in early summer 2020. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "The USA Women's Gymnastics Team Won Its 4th Straight World Championship—Here's How to Watch the Final Events," 31 Oct. 2018 He probably wouldn’t have been selected for a coveted clerkship in Justice Anthony Kennedy’s office. Wendy Naugle, Glamour, "On Boys Being Boys: In What World Can We Forgive a Few High School Indiscretions?," 19 Sep. 2018 Cassada also served as an instructor in the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School, and he was selected by NASA as part of the Astronaut Class of 2013. Jay Bennett, Popular Mechanics, "NASA Announces Astronauts to Fly on SpaceX and Boeing Spacecraft," 3 Aug. 2018 Over a thousand lucky guests will be selected to experience the festivities from Windsor Castle grounds. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank's Royal Wedding: Everything You Need to Know," 18 July 2018 Photo: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg News His faith in Exxon’s process was one of the top reasons he was selected by the board to succeed Mr. Tillerson, according to people familiar with the decision. Bradley Olson, WSJ, "Exxon, Once a ‘Perfect Machine,’ Is Running Dry," 13 July 2018 The justices hold fast to James Madison’s hope that the people will have the virtue and intelligence to select representatives, and in turn pick judges, who demonstrate virtue and intelligence in their decisions. The Christian Science Monitor, "A big question for Trump’s Supreme Court nominee," 10 July 2018 She was recently selected by the British Fashion Council to present at an upcoming London Fashion Week’s International Fashion Showcase. Mosha Lundström Halbert, Vogue, "The Kenyan Cool Girl’s Guide to Nairobi," 2 July 2018 They were recently selected to receive The Girl Scouts of the Nation’s Capital Outstanding Leader Award. Chris Folks, Laurel Leader, "Fifth graders move on in elementary school celebration [West Laurel]," 28 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The Other Side of the Wind is also playing in select theaters. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "The legendary director died before finishing The Other Side of the Wind. But now it’s finished, and there’s a documentary about it, too.," 2 Nov. 2018 The post includes announcements detailing what fans can expect from the film's limited release, set to hit select theaters on November 15. Allie Gemmill, Teen Vogue, "BTS's First Feature Film "Burn the Stage" Is Another Major Milestone for the Group," 12 Oct. 2018 Still, doubts remain about the long-term viability of focusing on select theaters. Benjamin Din, WSJ, "MoviePass Woes May Be Opportunity for Competitors," 14 Sep. 2018 Summer of '84 is out in select theaters starting August 10. Luke Darby, GQ, "The Summer of '84 Trailer Delivers Scares and Slasher Nostalgia," 30 June 2018 Laptop & Desktop Computers Alienware Mystery Coupon - Up to 15% off select Alienware PCs (Most people get 10%) at Dell. Ars Staff, Ars Technica, "Dealmaster: Get a 49-inch 4K Roku TV for $330," 27 Feb. 2018 Nigerian Victor Moses equalizes with a penalty kick in the 51st minute, to the delight of a few hundred select fans in green. Steven Shundich,, "World Cup 2018: Dispatches from TML Mobster/Guest Hemingway in Russia, Episode 2," 4 July 2018 NewForm Real Estate specializes in the acquisition, sale, leasing, and marketing of select properties. Katherine Feser, Houston Chronicle, "Historic Main&Co project debuts new downtown creative office space," 21 June 2018 The book will be available online and at select retailers March 1, and is available for pre-order now right here. Dan Rys, Billboard, "Fader Announces Publishing Wing, Fader Fort Photo Retrospective Book 'Setting The Stage'," 12 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'select.' 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 select


circa 1555, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1566, in the meaning defined at transitive sense


1610, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for select


Latin selectus, past participle of seligere to select, from se- apart (from sed, se without) + legere to gather, select — more at suicide, legend

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Learn More about select

Statistics for select

Last Updated

11 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for select

The first known use of select was circa 1555

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More Definitions for select



English Language Learners Definition of select

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: chosen from a group to include the best people or things

: of the highest quality



English Language Learners Definition of select (Entry 2 of 2)

: to choose (someone or something) from a group

computers : to choose (a particular action, section of text, etc.) especially by using a mouse


se·​lect | \sə-ˈlekt \
selected; selecting

Kids Definition of select

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to pick out from a group I selected a ripe peach.



Kids Definition of select (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : chosen to include the best or most suitable individuals select committees Select students participated in the program.

2 : of special value or excellence a select hotel

se·​lect | \sə-ˈlekt \

Medical Definition of select 

: to cause a specified gene, trait, or organism to become more frequent or less frequent usually used with for or against animal breeders need to select simultaneously for improved conformity to breed characteristics and against defective genes causing disease

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