ca·su·al | \ ˈkazh-wəl , ˈka-zhə-wəl , ˈka-zhəl \

Definition of casual 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : subject to, resulting from, or occurring by chance a casual meeting

2a : occurring without regularity : occasional casual employment

b : employed for irregular periods a casual worker

c : met with on occasion and known only superficially a casual friend

3a(1) : feeling or showing little concern : nonchalant a casual approach to cooking

(2) : lacking a high degree of interest or devotion casual sports fans casual readers

(3) : done without serious intent or commitment casual sex

b(1) : informal, natural a casual conversation

(2) : designed for informal use casual clothing

(3) : allowing for the wearing of informal clothes … I had my wedding skirt (yep, skirt—it was a casual wedding) … —Rory Evans casual Fridays [=Fridays when employees (as in an office) are allowed to wear casual clothing]



Definition of casual (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a casual (see casual entry 1 sense 2b) or migratory worker

2 : an officer or enlisted person awaiting assignment or transportation to a unit

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Other words from casual


casually adverb
casualness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for casual


accidental, fortuitous, casual, contingent mean not amenable to planning or prediction. accidental stresses chance. any resemblance to actual persons is entirely accidental fortuitous so strongly suggests chance that it often connotes entire absence of cause. a series of fortuitous events casual stresses lack of real or apparent premeditation or intent. a casual encounter with a stranger contingent suggests possibility of happening but stresses uncertainty and dependence on other future events for existence or occurrence. the contingent effects of the proposed law

random, haphazard, casual mean determined by accident rather than design. random stresses lack of definite aim, fixed goal, or regular procedure. a random selection of books haphazard applies to what is done without regard for regularity or fitness or ultimate consequence. a haphazard collection of rocks casual suggests working or acting without deliberation, intention, or purpose. a casual collector

Examples of casual in a Sentence


a casual encounter on the sidewalk The atmosphere at the meeting was quite casual. He made a casual remark about her shoes. He's a casual sports fan.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The latter, fast-casual chain recently was split into a separate business and moved its headquarters from Scottsdale to Irving, Texas. Russ Wiles, azcentral, "Corporate parent may sell Scottsdale's P.F. Chang's restaurant chain," 3 July 2018 Shows have been held at places including fast-casual salad chain Sweetgreen, the rooftop of the Free Library of Philadelphia Central Parkway Library, the Fleisher Art Memorial, the graveyard of Old Swedes Church, and WeWork coworking space. Grace Dickinson,, "Secret concert series Sofar Sounds is growing too big for the living room," 27 June 2018 Even though casual fans enjoy the Messi-Ronaldo debate, SI's Luis Echegaray explains why the coverage of these athletes is taking away from other important news in soccer. Graham Dunbar, Houston Chronicle, "Ronaldo becomes Europe's top international scorer after leading Portugal over Morocco," 20 June 2018 For even casual fans, investment in artists can breed entitlement over the facts and failures of their lives. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "Do Beyoncé Fans Have to Forgive Jay-Z?," 18 June 2018 Fung described himself as a casual soccer fan who gets into the World Cup every four years. Washington Post, "Fans turn out early for World Cup party in San Jose," 16 June 2018 Either way, the chain is under pressure to carve a new path toward growth amid struggles for casual dining chains. Nathan Bomey, USA TODAY, "IHOP name change in the works? Restaurant chain plans transformation," 11 June 2018 The closing of Rubio’s follows the closing of another fast-casual taco chain nearby, Zona Fresca. Kyle Arnold,, "Rubio's Coastal Grill shuts down Winter Park Village eatery," 24 Apr. 2018 Chief Executive Officer Brian Wright, who took the helm in 2016, started the program to combat rising competition from fast-casual chains like Panera Bread. Lauren Coleman-lochner,, "Pizza Chain Bertucci's Is Preparing Bankruptcy Filing," 13 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Even as fast casual continues to grow in popularity, the number of outlets still account for a tiny fraction of the overall industry — about 4 percent. Lori Weisberg,, "Fast casual chains — think Panera, Chipotle — show no signs of fading," 4 July 2018 He was built like a wrestler and dressed in business casual: a sky-blue polo shirt, gray slacks and round tortoiseshell glasses. Vanessa Grigoriadis, New York Times, "The ‘Sex Cult’ That Preached Empowerment," 30 May 2018 The hatch cover was below decks on a crowded transport ship and also was inhabited by some 20 junior officers and casuals, sleeping side by side on makeshift cots. Washington Post, "AP WAS THERE: 75 years ago, reporter lands on Attu Island," 29 May 2018 Of note: Fast casual, metered street parking, cash only. Find it: 2607 N. Milwaukee Ave., 773-697-4234, Ina Pinkney,, "Go-to breakfasts from wood-fired bagels to grilled coffee cake to deli classics," 24 Apr. 2018 The last time the union and PMA held a drawing in the Los Angeles area was in 2004 and many of those casuals are still waiting for a shot at a regular union job. Rachel Uranga, Orange County Register, "Drawing for lucrative L.A. and Long Beach port jobs is back on — for now," 8 Feb. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'casual.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of casual


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


circa 1852, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for casual


Middle English, from Anglo-French & Late Latin; Anglo-French casuel, from Late Latin casualis, from Latin casus fall, chance — more at case

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Phrases Related to casual

casual observer

Statistics for casual

Last Updated

19 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for casual

The first known use of casual was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for casual



English Language Learners Definition of casual

: happening by chance : not planned or expected

: designed for or permitting ordinary dress, behavior, etc. : not formal

: done without much thought, effort, or concern


ca·su·al | \ ˈkazh-wəl , ˈka-zhə-wəl , ˈka-zhəl \

Kids Definition of casual

1 : happening unexpectedly or by chance : not planned or foreseen a casual meeting

2 : occurring without regularity : occasional casual visits

3 : showing or feeling little concern : nonchalant This is awful! How can you be so casual about it?

4 : meant for informal use Wear casual clothing for the tour.

Other words from casual

casually adverb



Legal Definition of casual 

1a : not expected or foreseen

b : not done purposefully : accidental

2a : employed for irregular periods a casual worker

b : engaging in an activity on an occasional basis a casual seller

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Comments on casual

What made you want to look up casual? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


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