man·​da·​to·​ry | \ ˈman-də-ˌtȯr-ē How to pronounce mandatory (audio) \

Definition of mandatory

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : required by a law or rule : obligatory the mandatory retirement age
2 : of, by, relating to, or holding a League of Nations mandate


plural mandatories

Definition of mandatory (Entry 2 of 2)

: one given a mandate especially : a nation holding a mandate from the League of Nations

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Other Words from mandatory


mandatorily \ ˈman-​də-​ˌtȯr-​ə-​lē How to pronounce mandatory (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for mandatory

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Something mandatory is the result of a mandate or order, which usually comes in the form of a law, rule, or regulation. Today there seem to be a lot of these mandates, so mandatory seat belts, mandatory inspections for industries, and mandatory prison sentences for violent crimes are regularly in the news. But mandatory retirement at age 65, which used to be common, is now illegal in most cases.

Examples of mandatory in a Sentence

Adjective Parents object to the mandatory nature of the shots—and the fact that their child's access to education hinges on compliance with the immunization regulations. — Alice Park, Time, 2 June 2008 In a move some are calling a "backdoor draft," the Pentagon has announced it will issue mandatory recalls to more than 5,600 Army troops for deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan. — Nathaniel Frank, Washington Post, 12 July 2004 At the same time, the 1987 repeal of the Fairness Doctrine, which ended mandatory balanced coverage of politics, gave birth to talk radio, and the television universe splintered between the old networks and the new culture of cable gladiators in which opinion was more entertaining than information and cheaper to produce as well. — Nancy Gibbs, Time, 27 Sept. 2004 the tests are mandatory for all students wishing to graduate
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The massive blaze forced a mandatory evacuation of El Capitan State Park along with a shut down of nearby ranches and the U.S. 101 highway. Siladitya Ray, Forbes, 12 Oct. 2021 But because Terrytown was not in one of the areas under mandatory evacuation, State Farm denied her claim, according to documents reviewed by NBC News. NBC News, 7 Oct. 2021 Authorities placed the communities of Eshom and Hartland Camp in Tulare County under mandatory evacuation. Lila Seidman, Los Angeles Times, 1 Oct. 2021 Officials also ordered a mandatory evacuation for the Confluence area off Foresthill Road, and Old Auburn Foresthill Road to Upper Lake Road to Lake Clementine. Matthias Gafni, San Francisco Chronicle, 6 Sep. 2021 New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell cited a lack of time to order a mandatory evacuation. Xander Peters, The Christian Science Monitor, 2 Sep. 2021 However, with Ida, New Orleans Mayor Mayor Latoya Cantrell said ahead of the storm there was no time to order a mandatory evacuation of the city because there wasn’t enough time to turn the highways into evacuation routes. Marlene Lenthang, ABC News, 2 Sep. 2021 On Tuesday, a CNN crew visited the island to find utter devastation: homes destroyed and vehicles still under floodwaters, although there were no reports of deaths or injuries due to a mandatory evacuation. Eric Levenson, CNN, 1 Sep. 2021 On Monday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom proclaimed a state of emergency for three counties surrounding Lake Tahoe, the popular tourist area whose residents were placed under a mandatory evacuation the same day. Jason Duaine Hahn,, 31 Aug. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Also, Californians who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 will be able to stop wearing face masks in most situations, unless a business or venue decides to keep mask-wearing mandatory. Christopher Reynolds, Los Angeles Times, 15 June 2021 The death of Cecil, who would have turned 33 on Saturday, made protective netting above the glass mandatory in the NHL and commonplace at rinks around the world., 20 Mar. 2021 The Shift Project showed that at 34 French universities, less than one-quarter of degree programs offered any courses in climate and energy issues, and most of those did not make such a class mandatory., 30 Jan. 2021 The group was scheduled for an upcoming mandatory, aka boring, 48-hour training, but were instead surprised with an island vacation to the Florida Keys., 11 Nov. 2020 Capacity is reduced, users spaced out, mask usage mandatory and coffee/tea service temporarily put on hold because of the indoor dining restrictions. Rafael Guerrero,, 30 Oct. 2020 Black Sheep, an upscale restaurant group in Hong Kong, has made temperature checks and surveys about medical history mandatory at its 23 restaurants. Javier C. Hernández, New York Times, 11 Apr. 2020 Black Sheep, an upscale restaurant group in Hong Kong, has made temperature checks and surveys about medical history mandatory at its 23 restaurants. Su-hyun Lee,, 2 May 2020 Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia have all made face coverings in public mandatory. Jacqueline Howard, CNN, 31 Mar. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'mandatory.' 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 mandatory


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1661, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for mandatory


see mandate entry 1


see mandate entry 1

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Time Traveler for mandatory

Time Traveler

The first known use of mandatory was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

20 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Mandatory.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for mandatory



English Language Learners Definition of mandatory

: required by a law or rule


man·​da·​tory | \ ˈman-də-ˌtȯr-ē How to pronounce mandatory (audio) \

Kids Definition of mandatory

: required by law or by a command Student attendance is mandatory.


man·​da·​to·​ry | \ ˈman-də-ˌtȯr-ē How to pronounce mandatory (audio) \

Legal Definition of mandatory

: containing or constituting a command : being obligatory

Other Words from mandatory

mandatorily \ -​ˌtȯr-​i-​lē How to pronounce mandatory (audio) \ adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on mandatory

Nglish: Translation of mandatory for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of mandatory for Arabic Speakers


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