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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web My writing sucked for a long time in diverse ways, with the occasional sentence or paragraph or maybe even mini-essay that was half decent and resonant with the promise of the actually good. Sarah Menkedick, Longreads, "Telling Stories In Order to Live: On Writing and Money," 17 Jan. 2020 The pals have been friends for decades and even starred in the X-Men franchise together, with Stewart playing Professor Charles Xavier and McKellen the occasional villain Magneto. Ale Russian, PEOPLE.com, "Best Pals Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen Share a Sweet Smooch on the Red Carpet," 16 Jan. 2020 The second is as adventurers, adding sounds from different influences to their music and seamlessly rolling into the occasional swamp rock breakdown. Chris Bieri, Anchorage Daily News, "Anchorage Folk Fest has everything from Cajun to country blues and bluegrass," 16 Jan. 2020 Gender non-binary filmmakers aren’t even part of the conversation (besides the occasional Ricky Gervais joke). Alma Har'el, EW.com, "Guest column: Alma Har'el slams lack of women in Best Director races — and proposes a solution," 14 Jan. 2020 Meanwhile, occasional updates are still getting pushed out for operating systems as far back as iOS 9—so even a phone as old as the iPhone 4s from 2011 is covered. David Nield, Popular Science, "What to do when your OS becomes obsolete—and how to save money in the process," 14 Jan. 2020 Baby boomers, enjoying the support of the occasional silent, on the other. Annalisa Merelli, Quartz, "This is what those Thanksgiving arguments are all about," 28 Nov. 2019 As evidenced by the occasional injury issues throughout the 2019 season, Ohio State likely needs more than three cornerbacks to successfully defend that Big Ten championship. Nathan Baird, cleveland, "Why Shaun Wade’s return is huge for Ohio State football’s 2020 defensive potential," 4 Jan. 2020 Williams was recently on the road with the singer as part of her Madame X Tour, and has been a fixture on her Instagram account since earlier this year, making occasional appearances throughout the summer and fall. Jen Juneau, PEOPLE.com, "Madonna Posts Silly Snap with Rumored Backup Dancer Boyfriend After Canceling Tour's Final Show," 31 Dec. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about occasional

Time Traveler for occasional

Time Traveler

The first known use of occasional was in 1611

See more words from the same year

Statistics for occasional

Last Updated

21 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Occasional.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/occasional. Accessed 23 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for occasional


How to pronounce occasional (audio)

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


out of the ordinary or unreasonable

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Intact Latin Quiz

  • roman tablet
  • What did focus mean in Latin?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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