It denotes various military activities, where you wish to play down the horror. Selective ordnance is usually napalm, less widely destructive than a nuclear blast but hardly discriminating in its victims. A selective strike or response is one where you don't intentionally wipe out civilians as well as soldiers. Selective facts are lies.
   Selective distribution, conversely, is a policy whereby a manufacturer sells only to the retail outlets which keep the prices high:
    The supermarkets say they are fighting a practice of 'selective distribution' whereby designer labels keep their prices high by selling only to shops that are not going to slash their recommended prices. (Daily Telegraph, 17 July 1998)

How not to say what you mean: A dictionary of euphemisms. . 2014.

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  • selective — UK US /sɪˈlektɪv/ adjective ► intentionally choosing certain things or people, and not others: be selective about sth »We need to be more selective about the people we hire. be selective in sth/doing sth »Banks have become more selective in… …   Financial and business terms

  • Selective — Se*lect ive, a. Selecting; tending to select. [1913 Webster] This selective providence of the Almighty. Bp. Hall. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • selective — (adj.) 1620s; see SELECT (Cf. select) + IVE (Cf. ive). Related: Selectively; selectiveness. Selective service is from 1917, American English …   Etymology dictionary

  • selective — index adoptive, discretionary, discriminating (distinguishing), discriminating (judicious), disjunctive (alternative …   Law dictionary

  • selective — [adj] discriminating careful, choicy, choosy, discerning, discriminatory, eclectic, fussy, judicious, particular, persnickety*, picky, scrupulous, select; concepts 404,542 Ant. open, uncaring, undiscriminating, unselective …   New thesaurus

  • selective — ► ADJECTIVE 1) relating to or involving selection. 2) tending to choose carefully. 3) (of a process or agent) affecting some things and not others. DERIVATIVES selectively adverb selectiveness noun selectivity noun …   English terms dictionary

  • selective — [sə lek′tiv] adj. 1. of or characterized by selection 2. a) having the power of selecting; tending to select b) tending to select carefully; fastidious; discriminating 3. Radio excluding oscillations on all frequencies except the one desired… …   English World dictionary

  • selective — [[t]sɪle̱ktɪv[/t]] 1) ADJ GRADED: ADJ n A selective process applies only to a few things or people. Selective breeding may result in a greyhound running faster and seeing better than a wolf. ...selective education. Derived words: selectively ADV… …   English dictionary

  • selective — adj. VERBS ▪ be ADVERB ▪ extremely, fairly, very, etc. ▪ highly ▪ increasi …   Collocations dictionary

  • selective — se|lec|tive [sıˈlektıv] adj 1.) careful about what you choose to do, buy, allow etc selective about/in ▪ We re very selective about what we let the children watch. ▪ selective schools (=that choose which students to accept) ▪ He has a very… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

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