con·​di·​tion·​al | \ kən-ˈdish-nəl How to pronounce conditional (audio) , -ˈdi-shə-nᵊl\

Definition of conditional

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : subject to, implying, or dependent upon a condition a conditional promise
2 : expressing, containing, or implying a supposition the conditional clause if he speaks
3a : true only for certain values of the variables or symbols involved conditional equations
b : stating the case when one or more random variables are fixed or one or more events are known conditional frequency distribution
4a : conditioned sense 2 conditional reflex conditional response
b : established by conditioning as the stimulus eliciting a conditional response



Definition of conditional (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a conditional word, clause, verb form, or morpheme

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Other Words from conditional


conditionality \ kən-​ˌdi-​shə-​ˈna-​lə-​tē How to pronounce conditionality (audio) \ noun
conditionally \ kən-​ˈdish-​nə-​lē How to pronounce conditionally (audio) , -​ˈdi-​shə-​nə-​lē \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for conditional

Synonyms: Adjective

contingent (on or upon), dependent, subject (to), tentative

Antonyms: Adjective

independent, unconditional

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Examples of conditional in a Sentence


“If she speaks, you must listen” is a conditional sentence. The sentence contains the conditional clause “if she speaks.”


The clause “if she speaks” is a conditional. The conditional is often marked by the word “if.”
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Photo: Michael Satchwell Their offers were conditional on background checks and drug tests, said Mr. Bruce, who has since left the job to pursue a degree in graphic design. Chip Cutter, WSJ, "Yes, You’re Hired. No, We Don’t Need to Meet You First.," 15 Nov. 2018 Some critics say her approval of work requirements—which makes Medicaid conditional on some beneficiaries being employed, in job training, or involved in community service—has led to a decrease in coverage. Stephanie Armour, WSJ, "Blue States Set to Test Trump Official on Medicaid, ACA," 10 Feb. 2019 For perspective, over the past ten years, the Minnesota DHS has issued only three conditional licenses for child placement agencies. Glamour, "Broken Harts, Episode 6: "Beautiful Black Boys"," 15 Jan. 2019 Visas would be available without limit for highly skilled workers sponsored by an employer, with entry in most cases conditional on earning at least £30,000 a year. Jason Douglas, WSJ, "Britain and EU Plan for Brexit Breakdown," 19 Dec. 2018 Vote centers offer conditional voter registration, in-person voting, replacement of vote-by-mail ballots and voting assistance. Diana Lambert And Jordan Cutler-tietjen, sacbee, "'The pomp and circumstance of voting is missing.' Some are sad without Sacramento polling places," 6 June 2018 The agency took his case, filing a complaint accusing the company of violating city and state laws by running a background check on Mr. Ramos before making a conditional offer. Zolan Kanno-youngs, WSJ, "‘I Thought I Was Done For’: Tight Job Market Opens Doors for Ex-Convicts," 19 Dec. 2018 The Johns Creek City Council has given conditional approval to the rezoning of a 9.2-acre site at McGinnis Ferry and Bell roads for 42 fee-simple townhomes and a 12,350-square-foot commercial building. David Ibata, ajc, "Johns Creek OKs townhomes on McGinnis Ferry," 29 June 2018 There are currently three pot shops in downtown Anchorage, but three more have conditional approval. Devin Kelly, Anchorage Daily News, "Museum and pot shop proposed for old Crush Wine Bistro building in downtown Anchorage," 22 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

All of those conditionals, again, stem from the fact that these materials don't yet exist, at least not in quantity, and even 2030 might not be a long enough timeline to find and mass-produce them. Brian Barrett, WIRED, "Lego Builds a Sustainable Future, One Brick at a Time," 11 Mar. 2018 Batuman writes; Nina’s reality remains untroubled by conditionals and subjunctives. Katy Waldman, Slate Magazine, "Elif Batuman sets out to write a novel as chaotic, random, and intoxicating as real life.," 20 Mar. 2017

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1828, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for conditional

Last Updated

18 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for conditional

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

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More Definitions for conditional



English Language Learners Definition of conditional

 (Entry 1 of 2)

grammar : showing or used to show that something is true or happens only if something else is true or happens



English Language Learners Definition of conditional (Entry 2 of 2)

: a word, clause, or sentence that shows that something is true or happens only if something else is true or happens
: the mood or form that is used to say that something is true or happens only if something else is true or happens


con·​di·​tion·​al | \ kən-ˈdi-shə-nᵊl How to pronounce conditional (audio) \

Kids Definition of conditional

: of or relating to something that will happen only if something else happens a conditional promise


con·​di·​tion·​al | \ kən-ˈdish-nəl, -ən-ᵊl How to pronounce conditional (audio) \

Medical Definition of conditional

1a : conditioned conditional reflex conditional response
b : eliciting a conditional response a conditional stimulus
2 : permitting survival only under special growth or environmental conditions conditional lethal mutations

Other Words from conditional

conditionally \ -​ˈdish-​nə-​lē, -​ən-​ᵊl-​ē How to pronounce conditionally (audio) \ adverb

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Comments on conditional

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


a secret plot to overthrow a government

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