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 Thumping your chest while gnawing the bones is optional. Jonathan Miles, Field & Stream, "Two Ways to Cook a Roasted Leg of Venison," 13 Jan. 2020 However, most of the XT6’s tech package is optional, including Night Vision, wireless charging, surround vision camera, surround vision recorder, a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and a head-up display. Tribune News Service, cleveland, "The 2020 Cadillac XT6 is good, but not nearly good enough (auto review)," 11 Jan. 2020 For private and public unlisted companies, this is optional. Abhyuday Agarwal, Quartz India, "Everything you need to know about whistleblowing in India beyond Infosys," 30 Oct. 2019 And with many but not all e-cigarette devices, nicotine is optional. Julie Gunlock, National Review, "Setting the Record Straight on Vaping," 30 Sep. 2019 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

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

20 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Optional.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/optionality. Accessed 24 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

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


a feeling of well-being or elation

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