op·​tion·​al | \ ˈäp-shnəl How to pronounce optional (audio) , -shə-nᵊl\

Definition of optional

: involving an option : not compulsory

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Other Words from optional

optionality \ ˌäp-​shə-​ˈna-​lə-​tē How to pronounce optionality (audio) \ noun
optionally adverb

Examples of optional in a Sentence

Jackets are required at the restaurant, but ties are optional. Many optional features are available on this car. Registration is optional, not mandatory.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Attach legs to the bottom piece of plywood using screws (this step is optional.) Wind the rope in a circle, beginning in the top, middle portion of the plywood. Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "This Tire Upcycle Is...Actually Chic," 27 Mar. 2019 In addition to the software fix, Boeing has decided to include on the MAX, at no charge, two angle of attack indicators that were previously optional and available only at extra cost. Dominic Gates, The Seattle Times, "Boeing has 737 MAX software fix ready for airlines as DOT launches new scrutiny of entire FAA certification process," 25 Mar. 2019 But a subpoena to testify before Congress is not optional. William Cummings, USA TODAY, "House Republicans threaten FBI lawyer Lisa Page with contempt for ignoring subpoena," 12 July 2018 An optional box lunch will be available by pre-order, for $10 prepaid by June 3, and can be picked up at The Wood on the day of the tour. Courant Community, "Community News For The South Windsor Edition," 29 May 2018 Not eating meat and fasting (eating only one meal during the day) are optional but encouraged on Holy Saturday for some faith traditions. Arricca Elin Sansone, Country Living, "What Is Holy Saturday, the Day Before Easter, and Why Do We Celebrate It?," 1 Mar. 2019 While many schools have decided to make the tests optional in recent years, the University of Chicago is the first top-10 research university to do so. Natasha Bach, Fortune, "Why the University of Chicago Is Dropping Its SAT/ACT Test Requirement," 15 June 2018 Quick-charge capability for an 80 percent charge in 40 minutes is a $1,590 option on the base Leaf S, optional on the $32,490 SV and $36,200 SL. Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, "Review: Electric 2018 Nissan Leaf energized by value and range," 7 June 2018 The Facebook rage caused Gov. Jim Justice to make the app optional, but by then an anger-fueled movement had too much momentum. Will Bunch, Philly.com, "Will a woman-powered, #MeToo labor movement save America's middle class? | Will Bunch," 8 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'optional.' 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 optional

1765, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for optional

Last Updated

14 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for optional

The first known use of optional was in 1765

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More Definitions for optional



English Language Learners Definition of optional

: available as a choice but not required


op·​tion·​al | \ ˈäp-shə-nᵊl How to pronounce optional (audio) \

Kids Definition of optional

: left to choice : not required Costumes are optional at the party.

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More from Merriam-Webster on optional

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for optional

Spanish Central: Translation of optional

Nglish: Translation of optional for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of optional for Arabic Speakers

Comments on optional

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