1560s, from Latin selectus, past participle of seligere "choose out, single out, select; separate, cull," from se- "apart" (see secret (n.)) + legere "to gather, select," from PIE root *leg- (1) "to collect, gather." The noun meaning "a selected person or thing, that which is choice" is recorded from c. 1600. New England selectman first recorded 1640s.
"to single out one or more out of a number of things of the same kind," 1560s, from select (adj.) or from Latin selectus. Related: Selected; selecting.