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[el-i-juh-buh l] /ˈɛl ɪ dʒə bəl/
fit or proper to be chosen; worthy of choice; desirable:
to marry an eligible bachelor.
Synonyms: suitable, fitting.
meeting the stipulated requirements, as to participate, compete, or work; qualified.
legally qualified to be elected or appointed to office:
eligible for the presidency.
a person or thing that is eligible:
Among the eligibles, only a few are running for office.
Origin of eligible
1555-65; (< Middle French) < Late Latin ēligibilis, equivalent to Latin ē- e-1 + ligi- select + -bilis; see -ible
Related forms
eligibility, eligibleness, noun
eligibly, adverb
noneligibility, noun
noneligible, adjective
noneligibly, adverb
preeligibility, noun
preeligible, adjective
preeligibleness, noun
preeligibly, adverb
quasi-eligible, adjective
quasi-eligibly, adverb
reeligibility, noun
reeligible, adjective
reeligibly, adjective
supereligibility, noun
supereligible, adjective
supereligibleness, noun
supereligibly, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for eligible
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • This board sat for two weeks, and found five men ineligible and eleven eligible.

  • Though he did not appear in society, he was eligible anywhere.

    The House of Pride Jack London
  • That the Committee and Sub-Committee shall retire annually, but shall be eligible for re-election.

    Sporting Dogs Frank Townend Barton
  • Who can think of rejecting overtures from so eligible a quarter?

    The Young Maiden A. B. (Artemas Bowers) Muzzey
  • He had kept my letter by him, not daring to open it,—as he says that he did with that eligible invitation.

    Thackeray Anthony Trollope
British Dictionary definitions for eligible


fit, worthy, or qualified, as for an office or function
desirable and worthy of being chosen, esp as a spouse: an eligible young man
Derived Forms
eligibility, noun
eligibly, adverb
Word Origin
C15: from Late Latin ēligibilis able to be chosen, from ēligere to elect
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for eligible

early 15c., "fit or proper to be chosen," from Middle French eligible "fit to be chosen" (14c.), from Late Latin eligibilis "that may be chosen," from Latin eligere "choose" (see election). Related: Eligibly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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