op·​tion·​al | \ ˈäp-shnəl , -shə-nᵊl\

Definition of optional

: involving an option : not compulsory

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Other Words from optional

optionality \ ˌäp-​shə-​ˈna-​lə-​tē \ 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

The 2019 Ram, which goes on sale in April, has an optional 400-horsepower, 6.7-liter six-cylinder diesel with 1,000 pound-feet of torque. Tom Krisher, The Seattle Times, "Heavy duty: Detroit 3 all roll out biggest pickups this year," 6 Feb. 2019 The company will also offer an optional adapter exceed 200 watts. Gordon Mah Ung, PCWorld, "MSI's GS75 Stealth is one stupidly thin and light 17-inch gaming laptop," 8 Jan. 2019 The soon-to-be law does away with all these delays and makes counseling and mediation optional if people are interested in participating in it. Li Zhou, Vox, "Congress’s recently passed sexual harassment bill, explained," 20 Dec. 2018 Create opportunities by signing up for things like company volunteer days, office committees, and optional offsites. Macaela Mackenzie, Marie Claire, "5 Things You Must Do Before Asking for a Raise," 6 Dec. 2018 The Israeli company sells devices for making carbonated water at home, sugary syrup optional. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: Have we broken Elon Musk?," 20 Aug. 2018 The company overhauled the test in 2016, reverting to a top score of 1600 and scoring an optional 50-minute essay separately. Debbie Truong, Washington Post, "Brown University becomes latest college to drop SAT, ACT essay for applicants," 12 July 2018 Other competitors may suit families better than the Rubicon that waltzed through the optional severe off-road course spur. Tom Voelk, New York Times, "26 Vehicles Played in the Mud. Here’s the Dirt.," 12 July 2018 After the presentation, the Conservancy will lead an optional, four-mile hike around the San Dieguito Lagoon. Linda Mcintosh, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Vista Boys & Girls Club gala raises $85K ...community news," 11 July 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

17 Feb 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 \

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

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


to deny responsibility for

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