con·di·tion·al | \ kən-ˈdish-nəl , -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 \ noun
conditionally \kən-ˈdish-nə-lē, -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

But the Fed issued conditional approvals over concerns at those firms. Deon Roberts, charlotteobserver, "Charlotte's big banks plan to boost their dividends, buy back more stock," 28 June 2018 The agribusiness merger won conditional U.S. antitrust approval in May after the companies agreed to sell off $9 billion in assets to preserve competition. Nathan Bomey, USA TODAY, "Monsanto shedding name: Bayer acquisition leads to change for environmental lightning rod," 4 June 2018 Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission recommended conditional approval. Sheila Vilvens,, "Plans call for 264 apartments in place of the Skytop Pavilion in Anderson Township," 11 May 2018 The Shorewood Plan Commission will hold a public hearing regarding the conditional use permit on July 24. Jeff Rumage, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Former Sendik's building in Shorewood could become medical clinic," 13 July 2018 Large breweries that produce more than 60,000 barrels a year must still obtain a conditional-use permit and are only allowed in industrial zones. David Hernandez,, "National City looks to attract breweries south of the border," 28 June 2018 Because the concept is untested, several plan commissioners suggested that youth lounges should be made a conditional use that requires Plan Commission review of each application. Karen Berkowitz,, "Highland Park sees proposed 'teen hangout' business as good fit for downtown," 20 June 2018 Some of that strong profit growth is conditional on strong trade. Tom Hudson, miamiherald, "Earnings energy taxed by tariffs," 5 July 2018 More recently, he was arrested and pled guilty in May 2016 to misdemeanor resisting an officer and was given 12 months conditional discharge, according to court records. Clifford Ward,, "Prosecutors say fight over gun led to murder at suburban recording studio," 3 July 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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Phrases Related to conditional

the conditional

Statistics for conditional

Last Updated

2 Sep 2018

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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 conditional : 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 \

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 \

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 \ adverb

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