1560s, "chosen on account of special excellence or fitness," from Latin selectus, past participle of seligere "choose out, single out, select; separate, cull," from se- "apart" (see se-) + legere "to gather, select" (from PIE root *leg- (1) "to collect, gather").
"Carefully picked," hence "choice, of special excellence" (by 1580s). Related: Selectly; selectness. The noun meaning "a selected person or thing, that which is choice" is recorded from c. 1600.
"to single out one or more from a number of things of the same kind, choose in preference to another or others," 1560s, from select (adj.) or from Latin selectus. Related: Selected; selecting.