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 In countries with looser safety standards (India, for example), features such as airbags and ABS are optional, and brand-new cars sometimes earn zero-star ratings when tested by agencies in those markets. Clifford Atiyeh, Car and Driver, "Which Vehicles Do the Worst In Crash Testing?," 17 Oct. 2020 The next day, a furious call came from the office of the vice president: The White House suggestions were not optional. Anchorage Daily News, "Inside the Fall of the CDC," 16 Oct. 2020 The first five weekdays and the final Sunday are optional, and some Florida counties don’t offer early voting during the first five days and the last Sunday. Anthony Man, sun-sentinel.com, "Complete guide to fast and safe early voting for president in Florida," 16 Oct. 2020 The next day, a furious call came from the office of the vice president: The White House suggestions were not optional. James Bandler, ProPublica, "Inside the Fall of the CDC," 15 Oct. 2020 Now the cardboard is optional, but more than half the students still use them as personalized organizers, taping up calendars, decorations and schedules. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, "Philharmonic pop-up, college cheaters, debating the response: News from around our 50 states," 14 Oct. 2020 And college students may find campus to be optional, Arizona State University president Michael Crow says. Daniel Stone, National Geographic, "6 ways our post-pandemic world will be different," 13 Oct. 2020 The simple Ginger Garlic Chicken requires only a handful of widely available ingredients: three ground spices (ginger, turmeric and garlic powder) and boneless chicken thighs; cayenne is optional. Tina Danze, Dallas News, "‘A Feast of Serendib’: New cookbook highlights the flavorful and historical complexities of Sri Lankan cuisine," 13 Oct. 2020 Seasoning of your choice (optional; see Variations) 1. Tribune News Service, cleveland, "A pitmaster’s secret to the best pulled pork at home," 16 Sep. 2020

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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Time Traveler for optional

Time Traveler

The first known use of optional was in 1765

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Statistics for optional

Last Updated

22 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Optional.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/optional. Accessed 29 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for optional


How to pronounce optional (audio)

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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