oc·​ca·​sion·​al ə-ˈkā-zh(ə-)nəl How to pronounce occasional (audio)
: of or relating to a particular occasion
a budget able to meet occasional demands as well as regular ones
: created for a particular occasion
occasional verse
occasional music
: acting as the occasion or contributing cause of something
occasional causes for creating apparent effects
: encountered, occurring, appearing, or taken at irregular or infrequent intervals
occasional visitors
an occasional vacation
found occasional errors
occasional episodes of chest pain
: acting in a specified capacity from time to time
an occasional lecturer
an occasional essayist
: designed or constructed to be used as the occasion demands
occasional furniture

Example Sentences

She receives occasional phone calls from her mother. There will be occasional showers during the morning. Most mornings, we'll see deer or the occasional bear walking past our house. He tells an occasional joke to keep his students interested. I need to take occasional breaks from work. Sure, I drink an occasional glass of wine from time to time. She's an occasional lecturer at the university. See More
Recent Examples on the Web Think of it as the bag version of the cool boss who is pretty chill about the occasional mistake, but still maintains their professionalism 24/7. Lydia Wang, Women's Health, 24 Mar. 2023 The town of Niu-York, free from skyscrapers but speckled with occasional references to its American namesake, has endured shelling and destruction for as long as any other front-line town since 2014. Anastacia Galouchka, Washington Post, 24 Mar. 2023 As with Billboard’s yearly recaps, multiple writers or producers split points for each song equally (and the dividing of points will lead to occasional ties on rankings). Xander Zellner, Billboard, 23 Mar. 2023 Bi’s occasional voiceover narration paints a vivid picture of her deeply troubled soul. Richard Kuipers, Variety, 23 Mar. 2023 Beyond birds, the region also serves as a refuge for non-avian animals, offering an opportunity to spot Gila monsters, chuckwallas, jackrabbits, and even the occasional rattlesnake. Jared Ranahan, Forbes, 23 Mar. 2023 Price There are many hunters and anglers whose need to walk in the water is occasional—who don’t plan on spending hour after hour, weekend after weekend in their hip boots. Morgan Lyle, Field & Stream, 20 Mar. 2023 It was built as a filming location and has made occasional appearances in Arabic dramas and promos for soccer’s Qatar-hosted 2022 FIFA World Cup. Barry Neild, CNN, 14 Mar. 2023 If so, the technology may remain a toy and occasional tool rather than a significant part of our lives. Tristan Bove, Fortune, 8 Mar. 2023 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'occasional.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


Middle English occasyonal "occurring at intervals," borrowed from Medieval Latin occāsiōnālis "opportune, incidental," from occāsiōn-, occāsiō occasion entry 1 + Latin -ālis -al entry 1

First Known Use

1611, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of occasional was in 1611

Dictionary Entries Near occasional

Cite this Entry

“Occasional.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/occasional. Accessed 26 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


oc·​ca·​sion·​al ə-ˈkāzh-nəl How to pronounce occasional (audio)
: of, relating to, or created for a particular occasion
occasional verse
: happening, appearing, or met with now and then
an occasional visitor

More from Merriam-Webster on occasional

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