Definition of elective in English:


Line breaks: elect|ive
Pronunciation: /ɪˈlɛktɪv


  • 1Related to or working by means of election: an elective democracy
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    • Good thing, then, that elective democracy has a built-in mechanism for removing him.
    • Instead, we suffer a good deal more from elective dictatorship, with prime ministers and premiers able to shape the political agenda with a freer hand.
    • Looking back on it all many years later in their old age, Thomas Jefferson wrote to his former antagonist John Adams, ‘an elective despotism was not what we fought for’.
  • 1.1(Of a person or office) appointed or filled by election: he had never held elective office the National Assembly, with 125 elective members
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    • Krugman is not a journalist by training, and he's never held appointive or elective office.
    • George Will notes the steadily increasing ranks of African-American Republicans holding significant elective and appointive office.
    • And yet, its new Republican governor is perhaps the freest-thinking holder of high elective office in the entire nation.
  • 1.2(Of a body or position) possessing or giving the power to elect: powerful Emperors manipulated the elective body
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    • If we cannot elect men with sufficient education and honor even to try to be wise, we can number in a few score the years in which the elective power will remain ours.
    • They cower down and allow him to dictate the pace rather than being an elective body.
    • In giving the elective power to the states, the framers of the Constitution hoped to protect state independence.
  • 2(Of surgical or medical treatment) chosen by the patient rather than urgently necessary: elective surgery
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    • Spontaneous abortion refers to pregnancy loss at less than 20 weeks' gestation in the absence of elective medical or surgical measures to terminate the pregnancy.
    • Music's soothing effects have been demonstrated in patients undergoing chemotherapy or elective surgery under local or regional anesthesia.
    • The reduction in hospital stay was present in all subgroups and most pronounced in the patients undergoing elective surgery for aneurysm who received transfusions.
  • 2.1(Of a course of study) chosen by the student rather than compulsory: elective courses on this subject have always been oversubscribed
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    • The students enrolled in this elective course range from advanced placement to general studies.
    • Pharmacy ranked last in permitting overseas research for its faculty members and allowing degree-candidate students to take elective study abroad courses.
    • A student research program is conducted concurrently with the elective courses - students with something to say are encouraged to say it.


chiefly North American Back to top  
  • An optional course of study.
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    • In a trade-off, though, Tech College offers far fewer electives, or curricular freedom of any sort.
    • He chose a philosophy minor, and several courses in classics as electives.
    • As I progressed through school, I chose art classes for electives in junior high and high school because that's what I enjoyed.



More example sentences
  • Adequate preoperative planning, scheduling surgery electively as opposed to emergency and improving nutritional status may be helpful.
  • Surgeons often electively repair abdominal aortic aneurysms that measure 4 to 5.5 cm in diameter even though the long-term survival benefit of early elective surgery is uncertain.
  • The patient was taken electively to the operating room where a 7.5 cm x 5 cm x 4 cm hard, nodular tumor mass was resected from the neck and anterior mediastinum.


late Middle English: from Old French electif, -ive, from late Latin electivus, from elect- 'picked out', from the verb eligere (see elect).

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