se·​lect | \ sə-ˈlekt How to pronounce select (audio) \

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 How to pronounce selectable (audio) \ adjective
selectness \ sə-​ˈlek(t)-​nəs How to pronounce selectness (audio) \ noun
selector \ sə-​ˈlek-​tər How to pronounce selector (audio) \ noun

Examples of select in a Sentence

Adjective 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. Verb 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 And no one really knows what Howard is like as a coach, either, aside from a select few inside Crisler Center or at American Airlines Arena down in Miami. Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan basketball has an air of mystery in Year 1 under Juwan Howard," 4 Nov. 2019 For a very select few, however, the smoke is the smell of money: Many of the these fires were started by ranch owners, a powerful force in the Brazilian economy, as a way to clear land for more grazing for their gigantic cattle herds. Clifford Krauss, New York Times, "In the Amazon, Fires Steal Breath, but Smoke Smells of Money," 2 Nov. 2019 Though rock/pop/rap stars appearing on the big screen is pretty common, only a select few have opted to show off their pipes in a new way: screaming their way through a scary movie. Aly Semigran, Billboard, "Musicians In Horror Movies: 13 Best Cameos and Starring Roles," 23 Oct. 2019 Then there were the select few who couldn't pass up the chance for a pun. Amir Vera, CNN, "Cigarette cockroach is giving pizza rat a run for its money in New York," 19 Oct. 2019 Most teams are frantically battling to remain in the playoff race, while only a select few have elevated above the rest., "Here are three guys to avoid in fantasy play this week - The Boston Globe," 18 Oct. 2019 The council’s role is to be the representative of the majority, not the select few. Pioneer Press Elections Team, Twin Cities, "ST. PAUL CITY COUNCIL WARD 2," 14 Oct. 2019 However, only a select few are fortunate enough to receive a century of caps for Brazil., "Neymar & the 6 Other Players to Win 100 or More Caps for Brazil," 10 Oct. 2019 Kenyon College and the surrounding towns are famously brimming with feral cats, and a select few have in the past gotten special treatment from the student community. Alia Wong, The Atlantic, "The Cat With a Campus Wrapped Around His Paw," 27 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Herbert is selected by the Titans in this mock draft. oregonlive, "NFL mock draft 2020: Oregon Ducks’ Justin Herbert selected by the Tennessee - gasp! - Titans as Marcus Mariota’s replacement," 7 Nov. 2019 The 40 semi-finalists were selected by a group of industry insiders including Harlem’s Fashion’s Row, a champion for black designers. Nandi Howard, Essence, "Serena Williams and Nike Partner Up To Create A Design Crew," 7 Nov. 2019 These products were selected by StackCommerce, which created these articles. NBC News, "Cryptocurrency is much less cryptic after this $39 online course," 7 Nov. 2019 All products are independently selected by our editors. Louis Cheslaw, Condé Nast Traveler, "13 Travel Gifts Our Editors Want This Year," 1 Nov. 2019 In 1964, Eller was selected by the Vikings with the No. Chris Tomasson, Twin Cities, "In Super Bowl IV, Bobby Bell had something to prove to Vikings," 29 Oct. 2019 He was selected by the Minneapolis Lakers in the second round of the 1954 N.B.A. draft. Richard Goldstein, New York Times, "Al Bianchi, Pro Basketball Coach and Knicks G.M., Dies at 87," 29 Oct. 2019 The architecture firms of Goodwyn, Mills, Cawood of Montgomery and HOK Architects of Kansas City, Mo., were selected by the university for the project. Tom Green |, al, "Auburn Board of Trustees votes to approve architects for standalone football complex," 28 Oct. 2019 Ollie Coffey was selected by the Cleveland Indians in the 10th round of Major League Baseball’s 1966 amateur draft. Phillip Morris, cleveland, "Vietnam eclipsed Indians draft pick Ollie Coffey’s field of dreams: Phillip Morris," 27 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Scorsese’s The Irishman is currently playing in select theaters, and will arrive on Netflix on Nov. 27. Tyler Aquilina,, "Martin Scorsese explains why he opted out of producing Joker, addresses Marvel comments," 4 Nov. 2019 Arlen’s entire, sprinkle-filled line is now available on Jockey’s website and at select stores. Claudia Harmata,, "Victoria Arlen Is Paying Tribute to Her 'Second Chance' at Life with a New Athleisure Line," 26 Sep. 2019 The 10-year-old company also recently partnered with JCPenney and Macy’s to carry its secondhand women’s clothing in select stores. Mandy Behbehani,, "How Bay Area sellers are cashing in on the online resale boom," 20 Sep. 2019 The 170-piece collection, available online and in select stores today, captures the international cool that made Union a leader in luxury menswear. Ian Malone, Vogue, "Union Los Angeles and Nordstrom Celebrate Their Collaboration With a Lower East Side Block Party," 11 July 2019 These teams come up with new programs and improvements that are tested at select stores with the prospect of being applied companywide. Janaki Chadha, WSJ, "Why Innovation Is a Team Sport," 9 Aug. 2018 Costco members were outraged over news that the major chain is pulling the Polish dog from the menu at select stores, and many took to Twitter to vent their rage -- and maybe even try to save the beloved hot dog. Michelle Gant, Fox News, "Sam's Club offering Polish dogs in response to Costco's news," 13 July 2018 Tax Savings Opportunity Opportunity Zones encourage investment in select urban and rural areas through tax incentives. Ruth Simon, WSJ, "Rich Investors Eye Tax-Favored Development Funds," 14 Nov. 2018 Alala: Save 50% on select activewear styles, until Sept. 3. Jacob Krol, Noelle Ike And Banu Ibrahim, CNN Underscored, "Labor Day Sales 2019: Your A-Z guide to shop on Sunday," 1 Sep. 2019

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 2019

Time Traveler for select

The first known use of select was circa 1555

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More Definitions for select


How to pronounce select (audio)

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 How to pronounce select (audio) \
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 How to pronounce select (audio) \

Medical Definition of select

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on select

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for select

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with select

Spanish Central: Translation of select

Nglish: Translation of select for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of select for Arabic Speakers

Comments on select

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


a calculated move

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