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 Make sure the wire is insulated and not bare copper At least one paper or plastic cup Clear tape Scissors Fine grit sandpaper Adult helper Wire strippers (optional) Preparation Carefully cut your 3.5-mm audio (headphone) cable in half. Ben Finio, Scientific American, "Build Your Own Speaker," 5 Dec. 2019 Add red sprinkles as holly (optional) or decorate with additional colors. Nancy Stohs, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Molasses Lavender Honey Cookies (Fourth Place)," 3 Dec. 2019 These are the second-generation AirPods and the regular charging case; the optional wireless charging case is available separately at its regular price of $79. Ars Staff, Ars Technica, "Dealmaster: All the Apple devices worth buying at Black Friday prices," 29 Nov. 2019 The addition of chicken sausage is optional, and the dish is vegetarian without it. oregonlive, "29 Thanksgiving side dish recipes, including 3 must-have green bean casseroles," 20 Nov. 2019 There’s also a twist on the classic wedge salad, with gem and romaine lettuces, bacon (optional), tomatillo and Maytag blue cheese. Phil Vettel, chicagotribune.com, "Review: Good Fortune restaurant combines clubby good looks with a neighborhood vibe," 15 Nov. 2019 Here, her go-to tricks for effortless entertaining in her Dallas home (RSVP optional). The Editors Of House Beautiful, House Beautiful, "How an Interior Designer Entertains," 29 Oct. 2019 Sateesh emphasized that the trial was optional, the school had notified parents in advance -- and only students with parental approval had been involved. Jessie Yeung, CNN, "Indian students wear boxes on their heads during exam to prevent cheating," 21 Oct. 2019 Thursday’s Rainbow 6 spans Races 5-10 and opens with the day’s feature, a $45,000 second-level optional claiming allowance for fillies and mares 3 and older going one mile on the Dahlia turf course, which drew a field of 12. Baltimore Sun Staff, baltimoresun.com, "Maryland’s Anthony Cowan Jr. named to watch list for Bob Cousy Award; Maryland Million week kicks off," 14 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

8 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Optional.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/optionality?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=o&file=option03. Accessed 9 December 2019.

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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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