selective

adjective
se·​lec·​tive | \ sə-ˈlek-tiv How to pronounce selective (audio) \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from selective

selectively adverb
selectiveness noun
selectivity \ sə-​ˌlek-​ˈti-​və-​tē How to pronounce selective (audio) , ˌsē-​ \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for selective

Synonyms

Antonyms

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 To that end, Smith is rather selective in identifying and landing recruits. Gordon Monson, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Gordon Monson: Thieving Utah steals away Craig Smith from Utah State — and comes away with a diamond," 27 Mar. 2021 McKinsey is famously selective in its hiring: The company gets about 200,000 applicants annually for just 2,000 spots. Oliver Staley, Quartz, "McKinsey faces its moment of reckoning," 27 Mar. 2021 And many people are being more selective, looking for life partners, not one-night stands. Cheryl Maida, sun-sentinel.com, "Date with purpose during COVID-19 | Opinion," 11 Mar. 2021 Prescott’s team-friendly extension allows the Cowboys to be more selective when pivoting now to these decisions. Michael Gehlken, Dallas News, "With Dak Prescott’s deal complete, the Cowboys can finally see light at the end of the salary cap tunnel," 8 Mar. 2021 Meanwhile, intensive care units at many hospitals are filled, and medical providers are being more selective about which patients are admitted. Los Angeles Times, "California quelled virus surge with March stay-at-home order. Why isn’t this one working?," 21 Dec. 2020 Experts expect timber yields to slump again, putting the industry on the edge even as the debate over better forest management through selective logging takes on new importance in the face of apocalyptic wildfire seasons. Heather Somerville, WSJ, "This Small Lumber Company Beat Back a Blaze. Rebuilding Is a Bigger Battle.," 14 Oct. 2020 Molchanov notes investors need to be selective in the clean tech-energy sector, citing that most stocks in this space are trading near record valuation multiples – on average, current multiples are approximately double the levels of one year ago. Palash Ghosh, Forbes, "Green Energy Stocks Take Breather After 2020 Surge, But Future Prospects Look Good On Biden, EU Climate Pledges," 10 Mar. 2021 But that's due to a surge of applications to selective colleges, which dropped their SAT and ACT score requirements this year — opening the door to students who might not otherwise have applied. Aimee Picchi, CBS News, "The college wealth premium is shrinking for younger Americans," 22 Feb. 2021

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.

See More

First Known Use of selective

1625, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about selective

Time Traveler for selective

Time Traveler

The first known use of selective was in 1625

See more words from the same year

Statistics for selective

Last Updated

6 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Selective.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/selective. Accessed 12 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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 How to pronounce selective (audio) \

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 How to pronounce selective (audio) \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on selective

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

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Typeshift

Anagram puzzles meet word search.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!