caus·​al | \ˈkȯ-zəl \

Definition of causal 

1 : expressing or indicating cause : causative a causal clause introduced by since

2 : of, relating to, or constituting a cause the causal agent of a disease

3 : involving causation or a cause : marked by cause and effect a causal link evidence suggests that there is a strong causal relationship between an individual's experiences with his parents and his later capacity to make affectional bonds— G. A. Miller

4 : arising from a cause a causal development

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Other Words from causal

causally \ -​zə-​lē \ adverb

Examples of causal in a Sentence

No causal connection between the events was found. There is a causal link between poverty and crime.

Recent Examples on the Web

In other words, more research is needed to learn more about the causal relationship between these findings and diet or dietary discipline. SELF, "What You Need to Know Before Trying Intermittent Fasting," 7 Nov. 2018 Many in the indoor tanning business rail against the idea that there is a causal relationship between tanning and melanoma. Alison Rose, Town & Country, "Hot Pursuit," 16 Dec. 2012 In that case, the pathogens would be opportunistic, not causal, sneaking across the blood-brain barrier and taking up residence only after Alzheimer’s has developed. Sharon Begley, STAT, "New study supports long-dismissed idea: Herpes viruses could play role in Alzheimer’s," 21 June 2018 The National Institutes of Health recently sought to initiate a large randomized control trial, the gold standard for understanding causal relationships, to look into the benefits of moderate drinking. Christina Mair,, "Alcohol kills many more Americans than opioids do. Why do we think drinking is healthy?," 9 July 2018 That could create an artificial spike in cases that appears to suggest a causal relationship between, in this example, the pandemic vaccine and incidence of narcolepsy — even if such a relationship doesn’t exist. Helen Branswell, STAT, "A stubborn medical mystery: Was pandemic flu vaccine tied to an increase in narcolepsy cases?," 5 July 2018 Finally, a 2016 review concluded that a causal relationship between MSG and CRS has not been proven. Yvette D'entremont, SELF, "We All Really Need to Stop Freaking Out About MSG," 20 June 2018 To reach the higher rungs, in place of ever-more data, machines need a model of the underlying causal factors—essentially, a mathematics of cause and effect. Judea Pearl And, WSJ, "AI Can’t Reason Why," 18 May 2018 But establishing a causal relationship between students’ race and their personality scores. Alia Wong, The Atlantic, "Harvard's Impossible Personality Test," 19 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'causal.' 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 causal

circa 1530, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for causal

borrowed from Late Latin causālis, from Latin causa cause entry 1 + -ālis -al entry 1

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Dictionary Entries near causal







causal necessity

Statistics for causal

Last Updated

12 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for causal

The first known use of causal was circa 1530

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More Definitions for causal



English Language Learners Definition of causal

: relating to or showing the cause of something

: making something happen : causing something


caus·​al | \ˈkȯ-zəl \

Legal Definition of causal 

1 : of, relating to, or constituting a cause causal negligence

2 : involving causation or a cause no causal relationship between driving without insurance and the accidentNational Law Journal a causal link exists between the deceptive act and the injuryNational Law Journal

3 : arising from a cause

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Comments on causal

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by force of circumstances

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