man·​da·​to·​ry | \ ˈman-də-ˌtȯr-ē How to pronounce mandatory (audio) \

Definition of mandatory

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : required by a law or rule : obligatory the mandatory retirement age
2 : of, by, relating to, or holding a League of Nations mandate


plural mandatories

Definition of mandatory (Entry 2 of 2)

: one given a mandate especially : a nation holding a mandate from the League of Nations

Other Words from mandatory


mandatorily \ ˈman-​də-​ˌtȯr-​ə-​lē How to pronounce mandatory (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for mandatory

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Did you know?

Something mandatory is the result of a mandate or order, which usually comes in the form of a law, rule, or regulation. Today there seem to be a lot of these mandates, so mandatory seat belts, mandatory inspections for industries, and mandatory prison sentences for violent crimes are regularly in the news. But mandatory retirement at age 65, which used to be common, is now illegal in most cases.

Examples of mandatory in a Sentence

Adjective Parents object to the mandatory nature of the shots—and the fact that their child's access to education hinges on compliance with the immunization regulations. — Alice Park, Time, 2 June 2008 In a move some are calling a "backdoor draft," the Pentagon has announced it will issue mandatory recalls to more than 5,600 Army troops for deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan. — Nathaniel Frank, Washington Post, 12 July 2004 At the same time, the 1987 repeal of the Fairness Doctrine, which ended mandatory balanced coverage of politics, gave birth to talk radio, and the television universe splintered between the old networks and the new culture of cable gladiators in which opinion was more entertaining than information and cheaper to produce as well. — Nancy Gibbs, Time, 27 Sept. 2004 the tests are mandatory for all students wishing to graduate
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Her mother, Elaine Valle, received an April 22 email from Special Olympics International saying that COVID-19 vaccination is mandatory for all athletes. Kate Santich, Orlando Sentinel, 13 May 2022 Many states require lead testing, which is also mandatory for children enrolled in Medicaid. Suzy Khimm, NBC News, 11 May 2022 At Sichuan University, a half-dozen political courses were mandatory for all undergrads. Peter Hessler, The New Yorker, 9 May 2022 Certain forms of insurance—such as cargo and liability—are mandatory for companies based in the West. Elisabeth Braw, WSJ, 29 Apr. 2022 Preregistration online is mandatory for each garden. Los Angeles Times, 28 Apr. 2022 The Department of Homeland Security has extended the Read ID deadline until May 3, 2023, allowing for more time to get a Real ID that will be mandatory for boarding flights or entering federal facilities. Emily Deletter, The Enquirer, 27 Apr. 2022 Hospital doctors have been re-tasked to the relatively unskilled job of taking oral swabs for the daily coronavirus tests that are mandatory for all games participants. John Leicester, The Christian Science Monitor, 15 Feb. 2022 Face coverings are also mandatory for unvaccinated guests. Alison Fox, Travel + Leisure, 15 Feb. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun California made reprocessing of food waste mandatory this year. James Rainey, Los Angeles Times, 16 Mar. 2022 Neither does the 2004 federal law that made special education mandatory, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA. Claire Bryan, San Antonio Express-News, 29 Nov. 2021 Also, Californians who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 will be able to stop wearing face masks in most situations, unless a business or venue decides to keep mask-wearing mandatory. Christopher Reynolds, Los Angeles Times, 15 June 2021 The death of Cecil, who would have turned 33 on Saturday, made protective netting above the glass mandatory in the NHL and commonplace at rinks around the world., 20 Mar. 2021 The Shift Project showed that at 34 French universities, less than one-quarter of degree programs offered any courses in climate and energy issues, and most of those did not make such a class mandatory., 30 Jan. 2021 The group was scheduled for an upcoming mandatory, aka boring, 48-hour training, but were instead surprised with an island vacation to the Florida Keys., 11 Nov. 2020 Capacity is reduced, users spaced out, mask usage mandatory and coffee/tea service temporarily put on hold because of the indoor dining restrictions. Rafael Guerrero,, 30 Oct. 2020 Black Sheep, an upscale restaurant group in Hong Kong, has made temperature checks and surveys about medical history mandatory at its 23 restaurants. Javier C. Hernández, New York Times, 11 Apr. 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'mandatory.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of mandatory


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1661, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for mandatory


see mandate entry 1


see mandate entry 1

Learn More About mandatory

Time Traveler for mandatory

Time Traveler

The first known use of mandatory was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near mandatory




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for mandatory

Last Updated

17 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Mandatory.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for mandatory


man·​da·​tory | \ ˈman-də-ˌtȯr-ē How to pronounce mandatory (audio) \

Kids Definition of mandatory

: required by law or by a command Student attendance is mandatory.


man·​da·​to·​ry | \ ˈman-də-ˌtȯr-ē How to pronounce mandatory (audio) \

Legal Definition of mandatory

: containing or constituting a command : being obligatory

Other Words from mandatory

mandatorily \ -​ˌtȯr-​i-​lē How to pronounce mandatory (audio) \ adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on mandatory

Nglish: Translation of mandatory for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of mandatory for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Great Words for Scrabble

  • scrabble tiles that read scrabble quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!