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 Neko makes up for his occasional naughtiness with his cuteness overload! Ann Jackson, cleveland, 10 June 2021 High tea has more or less evaporated from the British way of life, but its ritzy cousin afternoon tea lives on as an occasional treat. Will Noble, CNN, 10 June 2021 But in reality, the conference lasts all week, and while there isn’t much else of interest to the average consumer, there are some occasional revelations sprinkled throughout the talks. Jacob Siegal, BGR, 10 June 2021 Over the years, the occasional public sighting of what people think is a lion (that would be Milwaukee in 2015) or the escape of a kangaroo (Franklin last June) captures the public attention. Rachel Ryan, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 9 June 2021 Actual coronavirus infections, meanwhile, have been linked to more widespread cases of myocarditis, and in some occasional instances to multisymptom inflammatory syndrome in children, a serious and even deadly condition. oregonlive, 9 June 2021 The episode is anchored by three big dialogues, each with June and one of the men whose care, affection, efforts (and occasional cruelty) kept her alive in Gilead. Hillary Kelly, Vulture, 9 June 2021 Battered by sanctions and the occasional lopsided shooting war with the Americans, the Iranian navy is struggling to maintain its strength. David Axe, Forbes, 2 June 2021 Since then, Kelton says his company has only managed to land occasional gigs, like transporting some college sports teams to and from away games. Connor Sheets | Csheets@al.com, al, 9 Mar. 2021

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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Time Traveler for occasional

Time Traveler

The first known use of occasional was in 1611

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Statistics for occasional

Last Updated

12 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Occasional.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/occasional. Accessed 12 Jun. 2021.

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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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