oc·​ca·​sion·​al | \ə-ˈkāzh-nəl, -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

Onboard the train, the pugs slept in their bags at our feet, invisible to most of the people sitting near us, aside from an occasional whine or bark. Steve Eder, New York Times, "Pups Onboard: Why Trains Are a Great Way to Travel With Your Dog(s)," 19 June 2018 In recent years, Westmoreland said, various El Korah Shrine leaders talked about fixing the occasional crack that would show up in this or that mural. Maria L. La Ganga, idahostatesman, "What’s behind ’60s-era paneling at El Korah Shrine? A ballroom’s worth of ’20s art.," 12 July 2018 Downtown Orlando already has a handful of nonprofit organizations that offer regular meals and occasional laundry services. Kate Santich, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Downtown Orlando needs full-time drop-in center for homeless, leaders say," 13 July 2018 The space is made roomier by a low exhaust tunnel, which will ease the occasional crunch of three-across seating. Mark Maynard, sandiegouniontribune.com, "2018 Kia Niro PHEV: The future of plug-and-play," 13 July 2018 Contemporary interviews include the occasional reaction to newfound information. Bill Goodykoontz, Detroit Free Press, "Review: Documentary explores a dark family reunion," 13 July 2018 Since then, however, the Great Recession and occasional gas price shocks have returned the largest SUVs to their original role in the market: expensive vehicles bought by people who need big, multi-passenger vehicles that can tow a lot of weight. Aaron Bragman, USA TODAY, "Review: Ford's revamped Expedition SUV moves to the front of the pack," 13 July 2018 Despite occasional eruptions of bloodshed, the war has been dormant for 65 years, so any treaty would be mostly symbolic, said Bong Youngshik, a North Korea expert at Seoul’s Yonsei University. Washington Post, "Can Trump and Kim end Korean War?," 10 June 2018 Despite occasional eruptions of bloodshed, the war has been dormant for 65 years, so any treaty would be mostly symbolic, said Bong Youngshik, a North Korea expert at Seoul's Yonsei University. CBS News, "Can Trump and Kim end the 68-year-old Korean War?," 9 June 2018

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

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Statistics for occasional

Last Updated

28 Oct 2018

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 \

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

What made you want to look up occasional? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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