oc·​ca·​sion·​al ə-ˈkā-zh(ə-)nəl How to pronounce occasional (audio)
: of or relating to a particular occasion
a budget able to meet occasional demands as well as regular ones
: created for a particular occasion
occasional verse
occasional music
: acting as the occasion or contributing cause of something
occasional causes for creating apparent effects
: encountered, occurring, appearing, or taken at irregular or infrequent intervals
occasional visitors
an occasional vacation
found occasional errors
occasional episodes of chest pain
: acting in a specified capacity from time to time
an occasional lecturer
an occasional essayist
: designed or constructed to be used as the occasion demands
occasional furniture

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.
Recent Examples on the Web Choose a model with an appropriate battery life: at least 90 minutes for daily use and several weeks for occasional. Lindsay Modglin, Verywell Health, 8 Apr. 2024 Beaver Island in Lake Michigan is known for its inky skies and starry nights, its vast views of the constellations, galaxies and the Milky Way, glimpses of the Northern Lights and an occasional comet. Detroit Free Press, 8 Apr. 2024 So, Stiles fit right into the Two and a Half Men cast with occasional appearances as Herb, Judith’s long-suffering post-Alan husband. EW.com, 7 Apr. 2024 The Cannes audience gave the series a warm reception, responding to the show’s arch humor, 1950s retro style and occasional OTT violence, elements faithfully adapted from the video game. Scott Roxborough, The Hollywood Reporter, 6 Apr. 2024 When the conflict broke out, Essa and Regenstein each reached out to make sure the other was okay, and the two still make time to share occasional meals, discussing updates in the war. Marc Ramirez, USA TODAY, 4 Apr. 2024 With Sir David Attenborough | BBC Earth Watch on Attenborough moved quickly into senior management, serving as controller of BBC Two and director of programming for BBC Television in the 1960s and 1970s, alongside presenting occasional programs about his global adventures. Graeme Green, Smithsonian Magazine, 4 Apr. 2024 There will be the occasional pop of Loewe, but Markle will still pay lip service to all-American brands—Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, Tory Burch—to stay in line with her new company ethos. Alice Newbold, Vogue, 27 Mar. 2024 Things To Consider As with other stimulant laxatives, this product may be best suited for occasional versus long-term use. Suzanne Finkel, Verywell Health, 25 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'occasional.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1611, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of occasional was in 1611

Dictionary Entries Near occasional

Cite this Entry

“Occasional.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/occasional. Accessed 22 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


oc·​ca·​sion·​al ə-ˈkāzh-nəl How to pronounce occasional (audio)
: of, relating to, or created for a particular occasion
occasional verse
: happening, appearing, or met with now and then
an occasional visitor

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