Definition of collective adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//kəˈlektɪv//
    ; NAmE NAmE//kəˈlektɪv//
    [usually before noun] Belonging to society
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  1. 1done or shared by all members of a group of people; involving a whole group or society collective leadership/decision-making/responsibility collective memory (= things that a group of people or a community know or remember, that are often passed from parents to children) See related entries: Belonging to society
  2. 2used to refer to all members of a group The collective name for mast, boom and sails on a boat is the ‘rig’.
  3. Word Originlate Middle English (in the sense ‘representing many individuals’): from Old French collectif, -ive or Latin collectivus, from collect- ‘gathered together’, from the verb colligere, from col- ‘together’ + legere ‘choose or collect’.Extra examples It was formed as a permanent association of employers to represent their collective interests. MPs heaved a collective sigh of relief when the news was announced last night. The austerities of wartime Europe were still fresh in the collective memory. There has to be a balance between individual choice and collective responsibility. We encourage collective decision-making about patient care, involving medical staff, the patient and family.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: collective