Definition of selective in US English:



  • 1Relating to or involving the selection of the most suitable or best qualified.

    ‘the mini-cow is the result of generations of selective breeding’
    • ‘It is even at work when a new type of dog is created through 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.’
    • ‘The problem is, people are getting confused between genetic engineering and selective breeding.’
    • ‘Thus, the modern English setter was developed through selective breeding during the 19th century.’
    • ‘Finally, I do not understand the motivation of selective breeding.’
    • ‘I imagine that through some selective breeding, a cat with a mane could be produced.’
    • ‘Maybe we're still so unspecialized for the task of running that selective breeding could accomplish this.’
    • ‘Resistance to sleeping sickness is one trait that potentially could spread through selective breeding.’
    • ‘Nader backers who should know better are suffering from a highly selective historical amnesia when they make these arguments.’
    • ‘The gray giant was tamed, trained, but never domesticated by selective breeding.’
    • ‘Moreover, selective breeding has been for fur characteristics, rather than for domestication.’
    • ‘Also, how does the large variety of animals and plants produced by selective breeding fit into this issue?’
    • ‘This was due to the development of fodder crops such as turnips and clover, and to selective breeding.’
    • ‘With selective breeding, the investigator can shape behavior to reflect specific features or symptoms of a mental disorder.’
    • ‘Congress, with selective reluctance, was skating sideways toward a qualified endorsement.’
    • ‘In other words, the colour may be as much the result of selective breeding as of ancient purity.’
    • ‘Dramatic laboratory studies have expanded life span in animals through selective breeding and genetic engineering.’
    • ‘It is important to remember that each breed of dog has its own unique qualities, reinforced by hundreds of years of selective breeding.’
    • ‘Furthermore, the ancient cult is explicitly designed to maintain racial purity through selective breeding.’
    • ‘Very, very selective amnesia is practised on the other side.’
    1. 1.1 (of a person) tending to choose carefully.
      ‘he is very selective in his reading’
      • ‘Jones has been more selective at the plate, waiting for pitches he can handle.’
      • ‘The only problem is that she is very selective in her references.’
      • ‘As the volume of emails rises, I've had to become selective.’
      • ‘We're not selective in that way to what reaction people should or shouldn't have.’
      • ‘Employers have become increasingly selective in the type of individual they are prepared to employ.’
      • ‘He was also selective about who he would speak up for in court.’
      • ‘I spend a lot time getting in touch with who I am and I'm more selective about the company I keep.’
      • ‘Some great fighters are very selective in who they fight.’
      • ‘Once again, the authors are highly selective in the arguments that they choose to explore.’
      • ‘In retrospect, I was too selective in recording data.’
      • ‘Berkeley was a bit selective in his use of the razor, however.’
      • ‘He is also selective about what is included in each work of art.’
      • ‘It would seem they are somewhat selective in their condemnation of stereotyping.’
      • ‘He was also selective in picking objects for his paintings and was very careful in depicting them, too.’
      • ‘It's important that you're selective about what you install on your computer.’
      • ‘Most people are very selective in who they refer, realizing that their credibility is on the line if that person is hired.’
      • ‘People, especially the rich ones, are still willing to travel worldwide but they are very selective in choosing flights and accommodation, he said.’
      • ‘Now he's quite selective about hitting the distant stages.’
      • ‘I am very selective in my choice of prey.’
      • ‘The team wants Patterson to be more selective at the plate and raise his on-base percentage.’
      discriminating, discriminatory, discerning, critical, exacting, demanding, particular, hard to please
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 (of a process or agent) affecting some things and not others.
      ‘modern pesticides are more selective in effect’
      • ‘However, such a hypothesis is again unable to explain the selective maintenance of alleles in humans.’
      • ‘However, at the research level there's no alternative to a proper selective process.’
      • ‘Early diagnosis, treatment with appropriate antibiotics, and selective drainage have substantially reduced mortality.’
      • ‘It can then be argued that treatment effects result from selective attrition of higher risk cases.’
      • ‘First, it allows us to determine the probabilities for selective adaptations in both scenarios.’
      • ‘He drew attention to the selective processes and motivations that form memories.’
      • ‘The acquisition of reading and writing skills was a socially selective process.’
      • ‘The editing of my films is a long and selective process.’
      • ‘They speculated that the gaps in the solar spectrum are the result of selective absorption by atoms in the Earth's atmosphere.’
      • ‘Think of it as the ongoing and selective process of evolution: whatever works moves forward, and whatever doesn't is scrapped.’
      • ‘It is porous, takes up water and because it is soluble, it leads to ongoing selective loss of the copper from the alloy.’
      • ‘Polymorphic differences occur as selective adaptations to different environments.’
      • ‘Here we have the same selective process at work in a different field, but one that invites similar blind reactions.’
      • ‘The selective maintenance of inversion polymorphisms has been the subject of abundant theoretical work.’
      • ‘He also feels that Kerala should have supplemented its achievement in primary education with selective development of the higher education sector.’
      • ‘We focus here on human population history, although we include some discussion of selective processes.’
      • ‘The selective closure can also help reduce parents' anxiety about their children who are out there exposed to physical dangers and health risks.’
      • ‘One explanation might be that duplication of this region confers a selective growth advantage.’
      • ‘The first cohort effect could be attributable to the selective attrition of inactive records.’
      • ‘Apart from the retinal area in the eye, the other areas that can be damaged by selective absorption of laser energy are the cornea and lens.’
    3. 1.3Electronics Operating at or responding to a particular frequency.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Such selective frequency absorbing photovoltaics will then allow houses to be different colors.’
      • ‘This implies that there is room for improving the power to detect selective sweeps by adding LD into frequency spectrum.’