mid-15c., "to enter into the formation of as a necessary part," from Latin constitutus, past participle of constituere "to cause to stand, set up, fix, place, establish, set in order; form something new; resolve," of persons, "to appoint to an office," from assimilated form of com-, here perhaps an intensive prefix (see com-), + statuere "to set" (from PIE root *sta- "to stand, make or be firm"). Meaning "to appoint or elect to an office or position of power" is from c. 1400. Related: Constituted; constituting.
"a choice or select body, the best part," 1823, from French élite "selection, choice," from Old French eslite (12c.), fem. past participle of elire, elisre "pick out, choose," from Latin eligere "choose" (see election). Borrowed in Middle English as "chosen person" (late 14c.), especially a bishop-elect, but it died out mid-15c. The word was re-introduced by Byron's "Don Juan." As an adjective by 1852. As a typeface, recorded by 1920.
also co-optation, 1530s, "choice, selection, mutual choice, election to fill a vacancy" on a committee, board, or society, from Latin cooptationem (nominative cooptatio) "election," noun of action from past-participle stem of cooptare "to elect, to choose as a colleague or member of one's tribe," from assimilated form of com "with, together" (see com-) + optare "choose" (see option (n.)). Related: Cooptative.
1650s, "to select (someone) for a group or club by a vote of members," from Latin cooptare "to elect, to choose as a colleague or member of one's tribe," from assimilated form of com- "together" (see com-) + optare "choose" (see option (n.)). For some reason this defied the usual pattern of Latin-to-English adaptation, which should have yielded co-optate (which is attested from 1620s but now is rare or obsolete). Sense of "take over" is first recorded c. 1953. Related: Co-opted; co-opting.