Definition of collective in English:



  • 1Done by people acting as a group.

    ‘a collective protest’
    • ‘Van Young puts the rural insurgencies within the context of a longer tradition of popular discourse, protest, and collective violence.’
    • ‘There came a collective protest from the students, but they obeyed.’
    • ‘The Skyline Melody apartments at Vazhuthacaud seem to have taken the first tentative step to recognise the need for collective action by bringing out a directory-cum-souvenir.’
    • ‘He sure does, and pretty much in the same way that his long-lived combo played blues: as a collective whole, and not as some star-based vanity project.’
    • ‘An electric burst of acceleration saw him sprint clear inside the final furlong, bringing a collective purr of appreciation from the crowd as he won the race by 11 lengths, easing down.’
    • ‘On the other hand, collective public silent protest of injustice can be a very effective tool to confront oppression.’
    • ‘What theory adequately accounts for the complexity and diversity of distributed, collective practice?’
    • ‘Residents of Sandy Lane have less than three weeks to register their collective protest to Bradford Council Planning office about this new building development.’
    • ‘The bulk of the protests were collective: strikes, bandhs, processions, boycotts and dharnas.’
    • ‘In the 1880s collective protest and demonstrations swept through the Po Valley when farm prices fell as a result of the arrival of cheap North American grain and meat on European markets.’
    • ‘Non-violent, collective protest has become the weapon of choice for the disaffected across the former Soviet bloc.’
    • ‘GROUP PROTESTS, or collective action, may have health benefits for participants, according to research.’
    • ‘In this case, collective organisation to protest at rent increases brought trade unions into the struggle for improved community life.’
    • ‘Other forms of movement tracking can give rise to collective file sharing.’
    • ‘Henman has no similar device, and his wobbles, of which there were some, brought a collective intake of breath from the 14,000 spectators on Centre Court.’
    • ‘This relationship has provided the basis for social mobilization and collective protest, both socially and politically, as well as financial autonomy.’
    • ‘Everyone's experience is different, but our collective experiments in paper money have not created a currency that increases in value over time.’
    1. 1.1 Relating to or shared by all the members of a group.
      ‘ministers who share collective responsibility’
      ‘a collective sigh of relief from parents’
      • ‘The public values of this country do not allow us at this point in the Republic's history to impose collective punishment on a whole population because of the deeds of a handful of persons.’
      • ‘To him collective mood is a more significant indicator of the state of a nation than collective activity, shared perception more meaningful than shared programme.’
      • ‘The reason for visiting the province was to bring collective experiences to bear on the problems in the province and to assist, where practical, in overcoming them.’
      • ‘This was partly due to the patchy audio quality, but the cast's collective lack of acting ability and a stunted storyline didn't help either.’
      • ‘This identity must be spelled out in the context of the nation's collective life through the different stages of its history.’
      • ‘The talented mix of writers hails from various corners of the African Diaspora, and they bring with them tales fashioned from diverse points of their collective history.’
      • ‘Watson is still under intense pressure to resign after the revelation that he breached the strict rule of collective responsibility which forces members of the government to toe the line on policy.’
      • ‘Apparently, they can be excused if they breach one of the duties of collective responsibility, implying that some of the board members may not actually know what the requirements and duties may be.’
      • ‘They meet once a week, and every two months elect a coordinator from among themselves to share collective responsibilities with the managing trustee.’
      • ‘However, Wahid said a state of emergency would be a collective decision to be shared with the vice president, leading ministers and military and police chiefs.’
      • ‘However I am very happy with the way it looks and not too keen on making any major changes until I find a web designer who shares our collective vision.’
      • ‘He will, in short, allow the nation to air its collective frustration over the whole expensive project.’
      • ‘Dispersed throughout the city, they share a collective identity, united by an independent spirit and innovative exhibition strategies.’
      • ‘Melville said: ‘The players are very honest and they share collective responsibility and no one is going to fall out over this.’’
      • ‘Partnerships, shared knowledge and collective action will be key to ensuring the conservation and appropriate use of historic places in the future.’
      • ‘Star Wars or Lord of the Rings create cliques of individuals who share their collective fantasy in a way that is still separate.’
      • ‘Sadly it also seems that Indigenous people the world over share a collective experience of oppression, exploitation and assimilation.’
      • ‘The idea is to give fans the chance to pool their collective resources to acquire shares and gain a voice at board level.’
      • ‘Oh well, the war is not happening in my name, so I don't need to take my share of the collective blame and guilt for it.’
      • ‘Maharaj said it was the collective responsibility of the community to come together and work with a family to find a solution when tragedy occurred.’
      • ‘The goal is to share collective learning, identify opportunities and to promote the produce from the North West, both nationally and locally.’
      • ‘Brezhnev reintroduced collective responsibility within the Politburo, so as to share the responsibilities of, and to maximize general allegiance towards, the leadership.’
      common, shared, joint, combined, mutual, communal, united, allied, cooperative, collaborative
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    2. 1.2 Taken as a whole; aggregate.
      ‘the collective power of the workforce’
      • ‘Share in the collective experience of citizen journalists from around the world.’
      • ‘But it's not one fact, but the facts taken together as a collective whole that raise a question.’
      • ‘There was something about the collective multiplicity of images, the sense of being surrounded by them, that made it all so potent.’
      • ‘We will be bringing their collective strength together.’
      • ‘I regret the error, and 1000 apologies for bringing down the collective IQ of SA.’
      • ‘Deirdre is a musical director who in four years has brought the collective talent of more than forty young people to great heights.’
      • ‘First, it draws on and shares the collective knowledge of the people in the room.’
      • ‘Here we have two partners with two different histories and perspectives striving to bring their individual and collective best to fruition in their offspring.’
      • ‘In both instances, rival companies have been too preoccupied with eluding prosecution to consider sharing collective knowledge that might avert further accidents.’
      • ‘But he is a guy who definitely brings down the collective IQ of Parliament.’
      • ‘It has recently commissioned a research project to reflect the collective contribution of its members in terms of the social responsibility of the pharma industry.’
      • ‘Individuals are expected to act on behalf of the collective whole, and the corporate body is expected to act in the normative interests of its members.’
      • ‘Within feminism, it began by claiming males could not be feminists because they did not share women's collective experience.’
      • ‘It is democratising in the sense that it is participatory and brings about a collective shift in understanding of the past and perspective on the present.’
      • ‘This should be done through individual practice and by bringing to bear our collective expertise and influence in the community.’
      • ‘The ultimate aim is to increase the level of collective wisdom through sharing our separate experience and expertise.’
      • ‘Do you find that your one-on-one work is different from the collective product?’
      • ‘They lead the reader into their argument through a set of examples that bring the individual and collective costs of U.S. land-use policy into vivid perspective.’
      • ‘The bottom 50 percent of the population have seen their share of collective wealth cut in half from 10 percent in 1986 to 5 percent in 2002.’
      • ‘Not only because they make up the absolute majority in most modern countries, but also because of the indispensable role of workers in the economic system, and the collective power that accrues to the working class.’
      • ‘The collective share of the U.S. market held by Europeans who were mainly Germans, climbed along with corporate profits.’


  • 1A cooperative enterprise.

    ‘the anarchist collective and bookshop’
    • ‘This will consist essentially of delegates from workplaces and other collectives of working people forming workers' councils at local and national levels.’
    • ‘The Anarchist U is a volunteer-run collective which organizes a variety of courses on social science and the humanities.’
    • ‘A veteran of a feminist bookstore and several political collectives, Esther Vise is aware of the tension between the need to be efficient and productive, and the need to stick to some principles.’
    • ‘And there will be an expensive and politically complicated process of consolidating numerous small collectives into productive big enterprises.’
    • ‘One thing that has become clear is that the success of social production collectives hinges on the intensive contributions of a very small subset of their members.’
    • ‘An absolute majority of military collectives in the district perform their training and combat missions and carry on their daily activities without any crimes or incidents.’
    • ‘It pinpointed the difference between a theatre group and other non-artistic collectives, alliances or corporate bodies.’
    • ‘The media collective trained a squad of fifteen village reporters, mostly school dropouts in their early 20s.’
    • ‘In some areas, groups of employers have formed purchasing collectives or coalitions whose organizational strategies can also encourage guideline implementation.’
    • ‘We're a collective of social drop-outs, people with extreme ways of life.’
    • ‘But there are also small collectives of people who get together in a low-key style to make music: think Orquestra Scotland Brazil or even The Reindeer Section.’
    • ‘These are only a handful of examples with many more similar instances in co-ops, collectives and worker owned enterprises, around the world.’
    • ‘The peasants will start to organize collectives and communal villages.’
    • ‘While copyright collectives claim that education institutions need licenses to compensate for faculty and student copying, many copying activities are permitted under Canadian copyright law without the need for payment.’
    • ‘These anarchist collectives and the Greens need to set up sister-city programs; connect the Greens in Manteca, California with the Partido Verde in a city in Mexico.’
    • ‘Of all the non-state enterprises, urban collectives had the advantage of having been a component of the old socialist system.’
    • ‘The military collective has a complicated social and psychological structure.’
    • ‘Such a way of working echoes the theatre collectives of the 1970s, which tried to create an egalitarian alternative to the star-based power structures of mainstream theatre.’
    • ‘Instead of the international state system, anarchism proposes a confederation of communes and collectives.’
    • ‘Factors such as a lack of trust and low community cohesion, limited access to public goods, and the existence of social collectives such as religious groups have been common characteristics of these contexts.’
    collective, cooperative, co-op, community, communal settlement, kibbutz, fellowship
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A collective farm.
      • ‘These bigger farms would be called collectives.’
      • ‘His next film, The General Line, was about the agriculture collective.’
      • ‘Urban communists sent to supervise the new collectives were ignorant of agriculture.’
      • ‘Will they choose to work for 30 pesos a day in factories that take the place of hillside farms and remote collectives?’
      • ‘The first thing Lenin did after coming to power in 1917 was to nationalize all land and establish agricultural collectives.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, Beijing forced Xinjiang's nomadic farmers into collectives, which, thanks to the region's limited arable land, were even less productive than those in other parts of the country.’
      • ‘His opponent was Aaron Sapiro, a leading proponent of farming collectives at the time who is now mostly forgotten.’
      • ‘After years of effort, when the collectives of women farmers regained their confidence in their lands and their crops, they were faced with some pertinent questions.’
      • ‘China was then suffering from similar problems - strikes, withdrawals from the new agricultural collectives, and other forms of protest - though on a scale insignificant as compared to similar events in eastern Europe.’
      • ‘Business and industry were nationalized, and farmland was taken from the peasants and reorganized into government-run collectives.’
      • ‘Sometimes, candidates are recommended from factories and agricultural collectives, with the endorsement of the due authorities.’
      • ‘Ten years ago people were allowed to reclaim their family farms from the Soviet collectives and, as a result, the country now has a massive three million landowners.’
      • ‘From 1933 on, the sovkhozy began a recovery, facilitated by the government's transfer of land from these farms to land-short collectives.’
      • ‘However, widespread resistance by herders delayed the implementation of nationwide herding collectives until after World War II.’
      • ‘NGOs reported that Roma encountered difficulties applying for social benefits, and local officials discouraged rural Roma from claiming land to which they were entitled under the law disbanding agricultural collectives.’
      • ‘The tailor who lived in the cellar below his shop had told Rafe of a rumor that riots had broken out on the agricultural collectives.’
      • ‘Tito nationalized many of Yugoslavia's farms into collectives.’


Late Middle English (in the sense ‘representing many individuals’): from Old French collectif, -ive or Latin collectivus, from collect- ‘gathered together’, from the verb colligere (see collect).