AskDefine | Define choose

Dictionary Definition



1 pick out, select, or choose from a number of alternatives; "Take any one of these cards"; "Choose a good husband for your daughter"; "She selected a pair of shoes from among the dozen the salesgirl had shown her" [syn: take, select, pick out]
2 select as an alternative; choose instead; prefer as an alternative; "I always choose the fish over the meat courses in this restaurant"; "She opted for the job on the East coast" [syn: prefer, opt]
3 see fit or proper to act in a certain way; decide to act in a certain way; "She chose not to attend classes and now she failed the exam" [also: chosen, chose]

User Contributed Dictionary



From Old English ċēosan.



  1. To elect.
    He was chosen as president in 1990
  2. To pick.
    I chose a nice, ripe apple from the bowl.
  3. To decide to act in a certain way.
    I chose to walk to work today.

Usage notes

Related terms


to elect
to pick
  • Arabic: (ixtāra)
  • Catalan: elegir
  • Chinese: 選擇, 选择 (xuǎnzé)
  • Bosnian: izabrati, odabrati
  • Croatian: izabrati, odabrati
  • Danish: udvælge, vælge, foretrække
  • Dutch: kiezen, uitkiezen
  • Finnish: valita
  • French: choisir
  • Georgian: ამორჩევა (amorčeva)
  • German: auswählen, wählen
  • Greek: διαλέγω (dialégo)
  • Hebrew: לבחור (livkhor)
  • Hungarian: kiválaszt
  • Italian: scegliere, selezionare
  • Maori: whiri
  • Portuguese: escolher
  • Romanian: alege
  • Russian: выбирать
  • Serbian: izabrati, odabrati
  • Slovene: izbrati
  • Spanish: escoger
  • Swedish: välja
  • Tagalog: pili
  • Thai: (lêuak), (kát lêuak)
to decide to act in a certain way

Extensive Definition

Choice consists of the mental process of thinking involved with the process of judging the merits of multiple options and selecting one of them for action. Some simple examples include deciding whether to get up in the morning or go back to sleep, or selecting a given route for a journey. More complex examples (often decisions that affect what a person thinks or their core beliefs) include choosing a lifestyle, religious affiliation, or political position.
Most people regard having choices as a good thing, though a severely limited or artificially restricted choice can lead to discomfort with choosing and possibly, an unsatisfactory outcome. In contrast, unlimited choice may lead to confusion, regret of the alternatives not taken, and indifference in an unstructured existence; and the illusion that choosing an object or a course leads necessarily to control of that object or course can cause psychological problems.
Consumerist advocates of consumption and advertising join supporters of representative democracy to advocate free choice.
In the political sphere, the constraints of a two-party system often frustrate both voters and politicians.
Choice-advocates often pair the virtues of choice with the responsibilities of responsibility. Note that the consequences of a personal choice may impact on other people, and any associated responsibilities may extend into a wider society.
A political movement in the United States and United Kingdom which favors the legal availability of abortion calls itself "Pro-Choice".
Selecting an item or action from a set of possible alternatives. Individuals must make decisions about desired goods and services because these goods and services are limited.

Choice and Evaluability in Economics

When choosing between options one must make judgments about the quality of each option's attributes. For example, if one is choosing between candidates for a job, the quality of relevant attributes such as previous work experience, college or high school GPA, and letters of recommendation will be judged for each option and the decision will likely be based on these attribute judgments. However, each attribute has a different level of evaluability, that is, the extent to which one can use information from that attribute to make a judgment.
An example of a highly evaluable attribute is SAT score. Everyone knows that an SAT score below 800 is very bad while an SAT score above 1500 is exceptional. Because the distribution of scores on this attribute is relatively well known it is a highly evaluable attribute. Compare SAT score to a poorly evaluable attribute, such as number of hours spent doing homework. Most employers would not know what 10,000 hours spent doing homework means because they have no idea of the distribution of scores of potential workers in the population on this attribute.
As a result, evaluability can cause preference reversals between joint and separate evaluations. For example, Hsee, George Loewenstein, Blount & Bazerman (1999) looked at how people choose between options when they are directly compared because they are presented at the same time or when they cannot be compared because one is only given a single option. The canonical example is a hiring decision made about two candidates being hired for a programming job. Subjects in an experiment were asked to give a starting salary to two candidates, Candidate J and Candidate S. However, some viewed both candidates at the same time (joint evaluation), where as others only viewed one candidate (separate evaluation). Candidate J had experience of 70 KY programs, and a GPA of 2.5, whereas Candidate S had experience of 10 KY programs and a GPA of 3.9. The results showed that in joint evaluation both candidates received roughly the same starting salary from subjects, who apparently thought a low GPA but high experience was approximately equal to a high GPA but low experience. However, in the separate evaluation, subjects paid Candidate S, the one with the high GPA, substantially more money. The explanation for this is that KY programs is an attribute that is difficult to evaluate and thus people cannot base their judgment on this attribute in separate evaluation.

In law

The age at which children or young adults can make meaningful and considered choices poses issues for ethics and for jurisprudence.

In psychology

Main article: choice theory

In New Zealand slang

Choice is also used as a word in New Zealand slang to describe something, or a situation as being good. It may have originated from the Victorian English used in colonial times, where the word choice was used formally to describe a higher quality of traded product. As modern slang, it became popular in the 1980's and is still in use today.
Examples of usage as slang.
  • "I think that song is really choice"
  • Question: "What do you think of that song" Answer: "Choice"


  • Hsee, C.K., Loewenstein, G.F., Blount, S., Bazerman, M.H. (1999). Preference reversals between joint and separate evaluations of option: A review and theoretical analysis. Psychological Bulletin 125(5), 576-590.
choose in Spanish: Decisión
choose in French: Choix
choose in Ido: Judiko
choose in Italian: Scelta
choose in Portuguese: Escolha
choose in Russian: Выбор
choose in Simple English: Choice
choose in Swedish: Val (filosofi)
choose in Ukrainian: Вибір

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

adopt, aim at, be desirous of, choose to, choosy, co-opt, command, covet, crave, cull, decide, decree, delicate, desiderate, desire, determine, elect, embrace, espouse, fancy, fastidious, favor, finical, finicking, finicky, fussy, have designs on, judge, like, love, lust, lust after, make choice of, mark, nice, opt, opt for, particular, pernickety, persnickety, pick, pick and choose, pick out, please, prefer, resolve, see fit, select, settle on, settle upon, single out, take, take to, think fit, think good, think proper, want, will, wish, wish to goodness, wish very much, would fain do
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