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 optional (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 While schooling is required for those of elementary and high school age, preschool is optional. NBC News, 20 Oct. 2021 Rodriguez reiterated that use of the cryptocurrency was optional and expected it to be used alongside the U.S. dollar. Michael Mcdonald, Fortune, 19 Oct. 2021 Even though he had been exposed, school officials said at the time that quarantining was optional. Gina Harkins, Anchorage Daily News, 13 Oct. 2021 The district started the year with a mandatory masking policy at all of its 125 campuses, but that will end today; masks will be optional unless the numbers warrant a return to the old policy. Danya Perez, San Antonio Express-News, 11 Oct. 2021 Thankfully, this time the motion controls are optional. Gear Team, Wired, 9 Oct. 2021 In Natrona County, where masks are optional, 693 students — about 5 percent — were kept home between Sept. 11 and Sept. 24. New York Times, 7 Oct. 2021 Team activities — from training to film sessions and even games — were optional throughout the week and the club provided a counselor for players. Julia Poe, orlandosentinel.com, 7 Oct. 2021 Today, wraparound porches are optional on new homes built on former fields and pastures. oregonlive, 5 Oct. 2021

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

23 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Optional.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/optional. Accessed 26 Oct. 2021.

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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.

More from Merriam-Webster on optional

Nglish: Translation of optional for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of optional for Arabic Speakers


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