Latin: eliere, to choose
In general, one chosen or set apart; in theological usage, one chosen or set apart for eternal life.
In the Old Testament the term is applied only to the Israelites in as far as they were called to be the chosen people of God.
The New Testament (excepting perhaps Acts 13) transfers the meaning of the term from its connection with the Israelites to the members of Christ's Church, either militant on earth or triumphant in heaven.
Saint Paul (Romans 8) describes the five degrees of election as follows: the elect are foreknown, predestined, called, justified, and glorified.
The reference to the saved or elect as predestined always implies God's prevision of their merit.
New Catholic Dictionary