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 Signature dish: Pizza with some veggies, potent cheese and an (optional) farm egg. Michael Russell | The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, "Meet Portland’s restaurants of the decade," 29 Dec. 2019 Currently, $10 donations are optional, but starting Monday, the $10 donation will be required. USA TODAY, "Surfing Santas, endangered red wolves, who owns the letter ‘O’?: News from around our 50 states," 28 Dec. 2019 Furniture has been designed to accompany the home's style, but remains optional, so the homeowner can bring antiques along. Sara Rodrigues, House Beautiful, "Muji Released a Pre-Fab Home Built for Minimalists," 23 Dec. 2019 Instead of only two Thunderbolt ports, HP added a number of additional ports to the laptop: one USB-A port, one HDMI port, one headphone jack, one lock slot, and one nano SIM slot (for optional 4G LTE). Valentina Palladino, Ars Technica, "HP Elite Dragonfly review: Luxurious, professional, expensive," 15 Dec. 2019 Does the Baked Potato Bar call for (optional) trout or salmon roe? Washington Post, "11 cookbooks that inspired us in 2019," 9 Dec. 2019 Progressive Catholics argue that clerical celibacy should be optional, while conservative Catholics insist this discipline is fundamental to the faith. Vincent J. Miller, The Conversation, "Pope affirms Catholic Church’s duty to indigenous Amazonians hurt by climate change," 18 Oct. 2019 Costumes are optional, but a prize will be awarded to the best. Pomerado News, "Community Calendar - Oct. 10-31, 2019," 9 Oct. 2019 Membership in those unions is optional, under Arizona's right-to-work laws. Jessica Boehm, azcentral, "Does Phoenix force employees to pay for unions? Goldwater Institute lawsuit says yes," 8 Oct. 2019

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

6 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Optional.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/optional. Accessed 18 January 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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Comments on optional

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