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

Following an intriguing season while on a two-way contract with the Heat, Jones received his pay upgrade Sunday on a deal that is guaranteed for $1.5 million for the coming season, with a conditional guarantee for the following season. Ira Winderman,, "Derrick Jones Jr. sizzles as Heat lose summer-league opener," 3 July 2018 Prisoner rights groups are critical of the conditional releases which forbid the person from talking to the media or leaving the country. Fox News, "Venezuela frees 43 prisoners in 'national dialogue'," 13 June 2018 For the first time, universities have access to a pupil’s school reference, and will be able both to assess their suitability and make offers conditional on ill-prepared applicants’ agreeing to take catch-up courses. The Economist, "Why French students are protesting again," 3 May 2018 In April, Chariot was issued San Francisco’s first private transit operator permit and, under the conditional permit, must share GPS and passenger data with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. Catherine Ho,, "Chariot adds commute routes for UCSF employees, with public funding," 28 June 2018 He was forced to play on conditional status this season. Jeff Duncan,, "After 15 years of trying, Covington golf pro Michael Arnaud finally wins big," 24 May 2018 Most patients do not reoffend while on conditional release status. Special To The Oregonian,, "Psychiatric board: Charles Longjaw decisions based on known facts, law at the time," 25 Apr. 2018 Mullinax, playing on conditional status in just his second year on tour, nearly caught Landry on the back nine, closing to within a stroke after a birdie on the par-4 11th. John Whisler, San Antonio Express-News, "Landry rides hot start to first PGA Tour win at Texas Open," 22 Apr. 2018 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

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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Last Updated

11 Nov 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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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).


obstinately defiant of authority

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