from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The act of selecting something.
  • noun One that is selected, such as a literary or musical text chosen for reading or performance.
  • noun A carefully chosen or representative collection of people or things.
  • noun A range of things from which one can make a choice: synonym: choice.
  • noun Biology A natural or artificial process that involves the survival and reproduction of some kinds of organisms instead of others (because they have traits that are better adapted to the environment or that are preferred by a breeder, for example) and results in changes in the traits of a population or species.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Same as free-selection.
  • noun In Australia, a station; land ‘selected’ or obtained cheaply from the government by a settler; a stock-farm.
  • noun plural The highest grade of the heavy export tobacco. See export tobacco.
  • noun A hypothetical struggle for existence among the here litary units in the chromatin of a germ-cell, and the survival of the fittest, and the corresponding modification of the germ-plasm or hereditary substance. See substance of heredity.
  • noun The act of selecting, choosing, or preferring; a choosing or picking out of one or more from a number; choice.
  • noun A thing or number of things chosen or picked out.
  • noun In biology, the separation of those forms of animal and vegetable life which are to survive from those which are to perish; the facts, principles, or conditions of such distinction between organisms; also, the actual result of such principles or conditions; also, a statement of or a doctrine concerning such facts; especially, natural selection. See phrases below.
  • noun The fact of the survival of the fittest in the struggle for existence—which means that those animals and plants which are best adapted, or have the greatest adaptability, to the conditions of their environment do survive other organisms which are less adapted, or less capable of being adapted, to such conditions. This fact rests upon observation, and is unquestionable.
  • noun The means by which or the conditions under which some forms survive while others perish; the law of the survival of the fittest; the underlying principle of such survival, and the agencies which effect that result. These seem to be mainly intrinsic, or inherent in the organism; and they are correlated, in the most vital manner possible, with the varying plasticity of different organisms, or their degree of susceptibility to modification by their environment. Those which respond most readily to external influence are the most modifiable under given circumstances, and consequently the most likely to be modified in a way that adapts them to their surroundings, which adaptation gives them an advantage over less favored organisms in striving to maintain themselves. Hence (and this is the gist of Darwinian natural selection)
  • noun The gradual development of individual differences which are favorable to the preservation of the life of the individual, with corresponding gradual extinction of those peculiarities which are unfavorable to that end; also, the transmission of such modified characters to off spring, and so the perpetuation of some species and the extinction of others—a fact in nature respecting which there is no question, since we know that more species, genera, etc., have perished than are now living.
  • noun The theory of natural selection; any statement of opinion or belief on that subject, which may or may not adequately reflect the facts in the case. Ignorance alike of these facts and of this theory has been fruitful of misunderstandings and objections respecting the latter. Some of its supporters have made of the theory a cause of the facts which it is simply designed to explain; some of its opponents, unconsciously biased perhaps by such other extremists, have denied that the theory has any validity. Between these extremes, the author of the theory states explicitly that it neither originates variability, nor accounts for the origin of variations, in individuals, still less in species; but that, given the origination and existence of variations, it shows that some of these are preserved while others are not; that favorable variations tend to be perpetuated and unfavorable variations to become extinct; that those variations which best adapt an organism to its environment are most favorable to its preservation; and, consequently, that the theory of natural selection is adequate to explain, to some extent, the observed fact of the survival of the fittest in the struggle for existence—that is, natural selection in sense above. Natural selection, in so far as sex is concerned, is specified as sexual selection (see below). The facts and principles of natural selection, as recognized and used by man for his own benefit in his treatment of plants and animals, come under the head of artificial selection (see above). An extension of the theory of natural selection to the origination (as distinguished from the preservation) of individual variations has been named physical selection (see below).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The act of selecting, or the state of being selected; choice, by preference.
  • noun That which is selected; a collection of things chosen.
  • noun (Biol.) See under Natural.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun The process or act of selecting.
  • noun Something selected.
  • noun A variety of items taken from a larger collection.
  • noun A musical piece.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a passage selected from a larger work
  • noun a natural process resulting in the evolution of organisms best adapted to the environment
  • noun the act of choosing or selecting
  • noun an assortment of things from which a choice can be made
  • noun the person or thing chosen or selected


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin sēlēctiō ("the act of choosing out, selection"), from sēlēctus, perfect passive participle of sēligō ("choose out, select"), from sē- ("apart") + legō ("gather, select").


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  • This idea was expanded by William D. Hamilton, whose theory of kin selection is based on the concept of inclusive fitness: that is, fitness depends on the number of copies of genes that are preserved and promoted from generation to generation, rather than the number of individuals that carry and transmit them.

    At What Level did this Evolve? 2009

  • In addition, the title selection committee "meets every six months."

    Reading Adam Smith in Arabic Donald J. Kochan 2011

  • McKinnon pushed back a bit half-heartedly about this, but the bottom line on the Palin selection is increasingly clear: it was a historically bad decision by McCain, a gimmick that backfired -- not just because Palin is so clearly unsuited for high office, but because it demonstrated McCain's own severe deficiencies as an executive.

    Sarah Palin: Trick or…Trick - Swampland - 2008

  • On matters of substance -- especially foreign policy -- the Palin selection is a joke, especially after the intensely serious, substantive speech that Obama gave last night.

    Sarah Palin - Swampland - 2008

  • You might be able to show how morality relates to well-understood evolutionary mechanisms like kin selection and reciprocal altruism, or that group selection is involved, or not.

    Carry-Over Thread 2007

  • These represent only a thin selection from a growing body of scholarship that shows how we can take allegorical interpretation seriously as a contemporary possibility for critical reading.

    AKMA’s Random Thoughts 2005

  • The title selection process is completely transparent.

    Expanding the Arabic Reading List: 2007

  • As it turns out, usually only about 7 percent of what you communicate is comprised of the word selection itself.

    Life Is a Series of Presentations Tony Jeary with Kim Dower 2004

  • As it turns out, usually only about 7 percent of what you communicate is comprised of the word selection itself.

    Life Is a Series of Presentations Tony Jeary with Kim Dower 2004

  • As it turns out, usually only about 7 percent of what you communicate is comprised of the word selection itself.

    Life Is a Series of Presentations Tony Jeary with Kim Dower 2004

  • Minibar dubs its non-alcoholic pairing the “virtue selection,” implying you’re a puritan for forgoing whiskey and wine.

    The Sex-Abuse Scandal That Devastated a Suburban Megachurch Jessica Sidman 2019

  • The strength of selection for a particular gene variant – how fast a beneficial gene variant spreads per generation – can be calculated, and is called the selection coefficient.

    People in Cape Verde evolved better malaria resistance in 550 years #author.fullName} 2020


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