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 conditional (audio) \ noun
conditionally \ kən-​ˈdish-​nə-​lē How to pronounce conditional (audio) , -​ˈdi-​shə-​nə-​lē \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for conditional

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of conditional in a Sentence

Adjective “If she speaks, you must listen” is a conditional sentence. The sentence contains the conditional clause “if she speaks.” Noun 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 Doe started running several shelters in and around New York City, making residence conditional on work requirements and abstinence from drugs. Alex Traub, New York Times, "George McDonald, Power Broker for the Powerless, Dies at 76," 4 Feb. 2021 Planning Commissioners are tasked with making decisions and/or recommendations to the City Council on applications such as rezones, conditional use permits, building variances and tentative subdivision maps. San Diego Union-Tribune, "El Cajon mayor, councilman look to oust Planning Commissioner," 21 Jan. 2021 Prince George’s County also has approved a $250,000 conditional loan, through its Economic Development Incentive Fund. Lorraine Mirabella,, "Giant Food expands Landover headquarters and adds 70 jobs," 21 Jan. 2021 During that same time period, the state granted 410 conditional releases from civil commitment. Denise Lavoie, Star Tribune, "Virginia bill would end civil commitment of sex offenders," 19 Jan. 2021 Consumer advocates point to the 1975 Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act and antitrust laws, which forbid companies from making warranties conditional on using specific parts or repair services. Irina Ivanova, CBS News, "How manufacturers make it impossible to repair your electronics," 15 Jan. 2021 Lilly’s received a conditional use variance from the city to operate the location as a restaurant on Tuesday. Ian Mcnulty,, "Lilly’s Cafe will open second Magazine Street restaurant with 'the same heart, more soup'," 14 Jan. 2021 Monday night was maybe the best example of why Portland traded two first-round picks (one conditional) and Trevor Ariza to Houston for Covington. oregonlive, "Portland Trail Blazers’ Robert Covington demonstrates his defensive value, says team on the right track," 13 Jan. 2021 Beijing grants conditional approvals for vaccines that haven’t completed clinical trials if it is deemed to be urgent to cope with public health emergencies. Erin Mendell, WSJ, "Covid-19 Vaccine Gets Provisional Approval From China Drug Regulator," 31 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Jamey Dubose said on social media his conditional already was improving. Ben Thomas |, al, "Former Central-Phenix City coach Jamey Dubose hospitalized with COVID-19," 16 Oct. 2020 All this storytelling can give the agitated mind something to churn on, but obsessing over conditionals can also add to the moment-to-moment burden of preventing sickness and death, and tending to the sick and dying. Virginia Heffernan, Wired, "The Literature of Plagues Gives Us Words to Live By," 21 Apr. 2020 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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Time Traveler for conditional

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for conditional

Last Updated

24 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Conditional.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Mar. 2021.

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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 conditional (audio) \ adverb

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Comments on conditional

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