op·​tion·​al | \ ˈäp-shnəl How to pronounce optional (audio) , -shə-nᵊl \

Definition of optional

: involving an option : not compulsory

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 Youngkin, who took office Saturday, started his term as Virginia’s 74th governor with an executive order that declares masking optional in school systems statewide, subject to the preference of parents. Washington Post, 19 Jan. 2022 Both the in-person and online courses will include optional field trips to residential rain gardens, public rain gardens and native plant nurseries. Carol Kovach, cleveland, 18 Jan. 2022 Limited to 750 examples, the 911 Edition 50 Years Porsche Design is based on the current 911 Targa 4 GTS (Gran Turismo Sport), a top-optional iteration equipped with a 473 hp, 3.0-liter twin-turbo flat-six engine making 420 ft lbs of torque. Viju Mathew, Robb Report, 18 Jan. 2022 South Carolina was the last state to make Martin Luther King Day a non-optional state holiday, and that didn't happen until 2000. Harry Enten, CNN, 17 Jan. 2022 For the most recent election in 2021, Georgia’s early voting period began Oct. 12, including two mandatory Saturdays and two optional Sundays, per a calendar at the Secretary of State’s office. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 14 Jan. 2022 In the Add arguments (optional) box type -F -R and click Next, and then Finish. Simon Hill, Wired, 14 Jan. 2022 Purée it all together, then stir in more rolled oats (for additional texture) and optional-but-not-really chocolate chips. Sarah Jampel, Bon Appétit, 14 Jan. 2022 This is an optional framework for California communities to streamline housing developments with up to 10 units in areas near transit on lots that used to be for single-family homes. San Diego Union-Tribune, 14 Jan. 2022

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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Last Updated

20 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Optional.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/optional. Accessed 24 Jan. 2022.

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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.

More from Merriam-Webster on optional

Nglish: Translation of optional for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of optional for Arabic Speakers


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