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 In turn, Lesser and Plumlee miss sitting at the bar watching Vannarath work her magic with shakers and ice and occasional fire. Sam Whiting, SFChronicle.com, "With Holy Mountain cocktail class, regulars bring the bar to their living room," 21 Jan. 2021 The new parking lot will only be used by the public on an incidental and occasional basis, primarily for special events, such as the High Holy Days celebrations. Ed Wittenberg, cleveland, "Solon Chabad to build addition to existing building on Harper Road," 20 Jan. 2021 The pair wore American designers to keep out the cold and occasional snow flurry on a frigid Washington, D.C., day. Naomi Lim, Washington Examiner, "'Democracy has prevailed': Biden sworn in as 46th president," 20 Jan. 2021 People need a connection with nature, and especially in essential ways, not just as an occasional or rare hike or walk in the woods. Lisa Boone, Los Angeles Times, "A master gardener transforms a South L.A. food desert into an edible oasis," 10 Dec. 2020 But playing with only occasional and subtle vibrato, as was the norm before the 20th century, exposes the tiniest imprecisions of tuning. Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, "Dallas Bach Society switches holiday offerings to Italian concertos," 6 Dec. 2020 A few days later, a seventeen-year-old hacker from Florida, who enjoyed breaking into social-media accounts for fun and occasional profit, was arrested as the mastermind of the hack. Glenn S. Gerstell, The New Yorker, "The National-Security Case for Fixing Social Media," 13 Nov. 2020 Knix also has lounge and sleepwear for sale and seasonal or occasional items like swimwear and face masks. Fiona Tapp, CNN Underscored, "Knix uses virtual bra fittings to give you the perfect fit," 13 Oct. 2020 Athletes training for, practicing for, or competing in an organized sport, except swimming, or consistently maintain 6 feet of social distance, except for occasional or fleeing moments. Christina Hall, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan cities, counties uncertain on mask requirements amid Supreme Court ruling," 5 Oct. 2020

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

24 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Occasional.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/occasional. Accessed 2 Mar. 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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Comments on occasional

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