Definition of selective in English:

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Pronunciation: /sɪˈlɛktɪv/


1Relating to or involving the selection of the most suitable or best qualified: the cow is the result of generations of selective breeding
More example sentences
  • Finally, I do not understand the motivation of selective breeding.
  • The banana's main problem is that it has become sterile and seedless as a result of 10,000 years of selective breeding.
  • Furthermore, the ancient cult is explicitly designed to maintain racial purity through selective breeding.
1.1(Of a person) tending to choose carefully: he is very selective in his reading
More example sentences
  • He was also selective in picking objects for his paintings and was very careful in depicting them, too.
  • Once again, the authors are highly selective in the arguments that they choose to explore.
  • Most people are very selective in who they refer, realizing that their credibility is on the line if that person is hired.
discriminating, discriminatory, discerning, critical, exacting, demanding, particular, hard to please;
informal choosy, pernickety, picky
British informal faddy
archaic nice
1.2(Of a process or agent) affecting some things and not others: modern pesticides are more selective in effect
More example sentences
  • The acquisition of reading and writing skills was a socially selective process.
  • It can then be argued that treatment effects result from selective attrition of higher risk cases.
  • The editing of my films is a long and selective process.
1.3chiefly Electronics Operating at or responding to a particular frequency: a new marine VHF radio with digital selective calling
More example sentences
  • Such selective frequency absorbing photovoltaics will then allow houses to be different colors.
  • Antennas with high gain, selective patterns and high efficiency can assure that networks are reliable and perform at the best.
  • Previous work has shown that recurrent selective sweeps lead to a strong skew in the frequency spectrum toward an excess of rare variants.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: se¦lect|ive

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