electives; electively

Something that's elective is optional — you can choose to do it, or not. An elective course in school is one you take because you want to rather than to fill a particular requirement, although you still get credit for it.

You can take elective classes in high school or college. In fact, the word elective is sometimes used as a noun, to mean "optional class." Also, if someone has elective surgery, that means he’s getting an optional operation, like a nose job or a face-lift. In either case, nothing is required or compulsory — it's a free choice. The word comes from the Latin electivus, by way of eligere, "pick out or select," which is also the root of election.

Definitions of elective
  1. adjective
    not compulsory
    elective surgery”
    “an elective course of study”
    possible but not necessary; left to personal choice
  2. noun
    a course that the student can select from among alternatives
    synonyms: elective course
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    type of:
    class, course, course of instruction, course of study
    education imparted in a series of lessons or meetings
  3. adjective
    subject to popular election
    elective official”
    synonyms: elected
    relating to or composed of electors
    filled by popular election rather than by appointment
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    appointed, appointive
    subject to appointment
    nominated, nominative
    appointed by nomination
    non-elective, nonelected, nonelective
    filled by appointment rather than by election
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DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘elective'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
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