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

Reaction to news, quasi-news and occasional non-news across the Pac-12, both on the field (and court) and off … Rising: USC football. Jon Wilner, The Mercury News, "Stock report: On USC football momentum, Stanford basketball personnel hits, Pac-12 bowl partners and more," 7 June 2019 The occasional low tower of a Norman church, or peaked gable roof of a seventeenth-century farmhouse, poked out from behind huddled green copses, and wildflowers were growing in the gravel between the train tracks. Rebecca Mead, The New Yorker, "A D Day Journey in the Spirit of A. J. Liebling," 7 June 2019 Disney itineraries out of San Diego are dominated by trips to Baja California and the Mexican Riviera, although there is an occasional Pacific Coast cruise and a sailing through the Panama Canal. Lori Weisberg/the San Diego Union-tribune, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Disney Cruises returning to San Diego in 2020 with fewer sailings," 7 June 2019 As the legal market has matured there and in other states, frequent consumers have been buying less flower and more edibles and concentrates, whereas older occasional users tend to stick with joints and pipes. Robert Mccoppin, chicagotribune.com, "Coming soon to a party near you: marijuana users, and there's a wide variety of them," 7 June 2019 Since opening in 2014, sisters Justine and Juliet Masters have attracted a diverse set of Harlemites and the occasional adventurous tourists craving something beyond run-of-mill fare. Essence, "These Sisterpreneurs In Harlem Know What It Takes To Run A Successful Restaurant," 7 June 2019 Local bars and restaurants include The Dancing Cat Saloon, a New American eatery with occasional live music and the popular whiskey-enhanced Sinner's Lamb Chops. Laura Kiniry, Smithsonian, "The 15 Best Small Towns to Visit in 2019," 6 June 2019 The land gradually reddens where it’s been tilled, but in a few hours nobody’s tilling anymore and the surface is all brown scrub, with an occasional mesa, or koppie, floating against the horizon. Gregory Barber, WIRED, "Inside an All-White Town’s Divisive Experiment With Cryptocurrency," 6 June 2019 Flexitarians may see eating meat as an occasional treat. Washington Post, "Hints From Heloise: What’s a flexitarian?," 6 June 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

10 Jun 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

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