oc·​ca·​sion·​al | \ ə-ˈkāzh-nəl How to pronounce occasional (audio) , -ˈkā-zhə-nᵊl\

Definition of occasional

1a : of or relating to a particular occasion a budget able to meet occasional demands as well as regular ones
b : created for a particular occasion occasional verse occasional music
2 : acting as the occasion or contributing cause of something occasional causes for creating apparent effects
3 : encountered, occurring, appearing, or taken at irregular or infrequent intervals occasional visitors an occasional vacation found occasional errors occasional episodes of chest pain
4 : acting in a specified capacity from time to time an occasional lecturer an occasional essayist
5 : designed or constructed to be used as the occasion demands occasional furniture

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Examples of occasional in a Sentence

She receives occasional phone calls from her mother. There will be occasional showers during the morning. Most mornings, we'll see deer or the occasional bear walking past our house. He tells an occasional joke to keep his students interested. I need to take occasional breaks from work. Sure, I drink an occasional glass of wine from time to time. She's an occasional lecturer at the university.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The 25-year-old has been noticeably absent on the reality show in recent years, only popping up when the cameras aren't rolling to take an occasional family holiday photo. Eileen Reslen, Good Housekeeping, "This Is Why Molly Roloff Is Barely on "Little People, Big World"," 2 Apr. 2019 But, despite the occasional dropped call and static, Smith’s enthusiasm was clear. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "How a college architecture studio is tackling the affordable housing crisis," 18 July 2018 In fact, its New Orleansness seemed to get more and more watered-down with nearly every episode, eventually reduced to little more than Chamber of Commerce images flashed between scenes, with an occasional bowl of gumbo thrown in. Mike Scott, NOLA.com, "Goodbye, 'Southern Charm New Orleans'," 4 June 2018 There's crazy fights, broken lamps, and the occasional prank. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "All the Songs in "Riverdale"'s "Heathers: The Musical" Episode," 20 Mar. 2019 The Washington Post also reports that there have been occasional unconfirmed cases of the disease among Chincoteague ponies in the past. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "A Deadly 'Swamp Cancer' Has Killed Seven of the Famous Chincoteague Wild Ponies," 11 Jan. 2019 Other than the occasional royal appearance, Prince Michael had a long military career. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Who Is the Queen's Cousin, Prince Michael of Kent?," 18 July 2018 Her public appearances before Pyeongchang were limited to occasional events where she was seen serving her brother. Washington Post, "Kim Jong Un turns to his wife and sister to soften his image," 18 Apr. 2018 Sure, she's rocked the Umbrella-era pixie cut and occasional bob. Leah Prinzivalli, Teen Vogue, "Rihanna’s Cornrows Have People Ready to Embrace Their Big Foreheads," 14 Mar. 2019

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

1611, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for occasional

Middle English occasyonal "occurring at intervals," borrowed from Medieval Latin occāsiōnālis "opportune, incidental," from occāsiōn-, occāsiō occasion entry 1 + Latin -ālis -al entry 1

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Statistics for occasional

Last Updated

15 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for occasional

The first known use of occasional was in 1611

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More Definitions for occasional



English Language Learners Definition of occasional

: happening or done sometimes but not often : not happening or done in a regular or frequent way
: sometimes doing a particular job or activity


oc·​ca·​sion·​al | \ ə-ˈkā-zhə-nᵊl How to pronounce occasional (audio) \

Kids Definition of occasional

: happening or met with now and then They went to an occasional movie.

Other Words from occasional

occasionally adverb

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Comments on occasional

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


an enemy or opponent

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