selective

adjective
se·​lec·​tive | \ sə-ˈlek-tiv \

Definition of selective

1 : of, relating to, or characterized by selection : selecting or tending to select
2 : highly specific in activity or effect selective pesticides selective absorption

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Other Words from selective

selectively adverb
selectiveness noun
selectivity \ sə-​ˌlek-​ˈti-​və-​tē , ˌsē-​ \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for selective

Synonyms

choosy (or choosey), particular, picky

Antonyms

nonselective, unselective

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Examples of selective in a Sentence

The club is selective in choosing members. The college has a highly selective admissions process.

Recent Examples on the Web

As the pool of potential homebuyers becomes more wealthy and selective because of the market’s rising costs, the need to upgrade older homes to be competitive drives additional renovation. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Rising labor costs send the price of house construction skyward," 17 Dec. 2018 After being raped as a child, Maya Angelou, who taught us why the caged bird sings, experienced years of selective mutism (a disorder marked by an inability to speak in certain situations). Ola Ojewumi, SELF, "I'm Celebrating My Disabled Black Girl Magic Because I'm Done Feeling Invisible," 7 Nov. 2018 Activists go even further, saying the monuments are crucibles of intimidation and a selective telling of history. Shaun Assael, Glamour, "The Secret Fight to Save Confederate Monuments," 16 Aug. 2018 With a few selective streaks of her golden blonde still framing her face, and her signature, extreme waves that extended well into waist territory, the star’s above-neck look felt larger-than-life. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Beyoncé Reveals a Dramatically Darker Hair Color Alongside Jay-Z," 3 Dec. 2018 The selective group includes presidents such as Abraham Lincoln, Gerald Ford, and John F. Kennedy, military leaders, and unknown soldiers. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "George H.W. Bush Will Lie in State at the Capitol Today. What Does That Mean?," 3 Dec. 2018 As a result, this pro-Saudi botnet had to be more selective, staggering activity to avoid spamming messages in a way that made their automation look obvious. Jon Porter, The Verge, "Botnets adapt in wake of Twitter crackdown," 19 Oct. 2018 Top-flight grades and scores don’t guarantee entrance into any selective school, of course. Liz Weston, The Seattle Times, "What do colleges want? It’s hiding in plain sight," 30 July 2018 D’Souza was, in the president’s opinion, a victim of selective prosecution for violations of campaign finance laws. Jackie Calmes, latimes.com, "Trump pardons Dinesh D'Souza, says he may do same for Martha Stewart and cut sentence of ex-Illinois Gov. Blagojevich," 31 May 2018

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

1625, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for selective

Last Updated

14 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for selective

The first known use of selective was in 1625

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More Definitions for selective

selective

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of selective

: careful to choose only the best people or things

: involving the selection of people or things from a group

selective

adjective
se·​lec·​tive | \ sə-ˈlek-tiv \

Kids Definition of selective

: careful to choose or include only the best or most suitable individuals a selective college

selective

adjective
se·​lec·​tive | \ sə-ˈlek-tiv \

Medical Definition of selective

1 : of, relating to, or characterized by selection : selecting or tending to select
2 : highly specific in activity or effect selective pesticides selective permeability of a plasma membrane

Other Words from selective

selectively adverb

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Comments on selective

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to settle judicially or to act as judge

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