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 In response, Taylor started a change.org petition to make face masks optional for children at Gwinnett County schools. Kristen Altus, Fox News, "Georgia mother stands up against school's mask mandate: 'There's no end in sight'," 23 Apr. 2021 In some states, REAL ID compliant licenses are the only form of licenses given out to residents, while others are optional. Ivan Pereira, ABC News, "Millions of Americans could be grounded from flying because of REAL ID deadline," 22 Apr. 2021 Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran issued a letter Wednesday telling school districts to amend their mask policies for the 2021-22 school year to make masks optional. Elinor Aspegren, USA TODAY, "US reports 30% of adults fully vaccinated; Florida education official tells schools masks optional: Latest COVID-19 updates," 16 Apr. 2021 North East Independent School District will relax some of its COVID-19 safety protocols, making masks optional for students during outdoor recess and physical education as long as they are socially distanced. Andres Picon, San Antonio Express-News, "San Antonio's North East ISD loosens COVID-19 restrictions for recess, but not in classrooms," 13 Apr. 2021 The Cameron School Board in northwestern Wisconsin voted Tuesday to make masks optional, according to WEAU-TV in Eau Claire. Patrick Marley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Some Wisconsin schools shed mask requirements after court ruling," 8 Apr. 2021 Meanwhile, Melissa officials ISD made face coverings optional for all students, staff and visitors beginning March 10. Emily Donaldson, Dallas News, "Texas school boards enter heated debate over mask requirements," 9 Mar. 2021 There is little doubt what is driving those gains: making standardized test scores optional for applicants. New York Times, "Interest Surges in Top Colleges, While Struggling Ones Scrape for Applicants," 20 Feb. 2021 The state left key COVID-19 regulations up to localities, many of which made masks optional. David Armstrong, ProPublica, "States With Few Coronavirus Restrictions Are Spreading the Virus Beyond Their Borders," 1 Dec. 2020

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

26 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Optional.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/optional. Accessed 6 May. 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.

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Comments on optional

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