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[kuh n-dish-uh-nl] /kənˈdɪʃ ə nl/
imposing, containing, subject to, or depending on a condition or conditions; not absolute; made or allowed on certain terms:
conditional acceptance.
Grammar. (of a sentence, clause, mood, or word) involving or expressing a condition, as the first clause in the sentence If it rains, he won't go.
  1. (of a proposition) asserting that the existence or occurrence of one thing or event depends on the existence or occurrence of another thing or event; hypothetical.
  2. (of a syllogism) containing at least one conditional proposition as a premise.
Mathematics. (of an inequality) true for only certain values of the variable, as x + 3 > 0 is only true for real numbers greater than −3.
Compare absolute (def 12).
  1. (in some languages) a mood, tense, or other category used in expressing conditions, often corresponding to an English verb phrase beginning with would, as Spanish comería “he would eat.”.
  2. a sentence, clause, or word expressing a condition.
Origin of conditional
1350-1400; Middle English condicionel < Anglo-French, Middle French < Late Latin condiciōnālis, equivalent to condiciōn- (stem of condiciō) condition + -ālis -al1
Related forms
conditionality, noun
conditionally, adverb
nonconditional, adjective
1. dependent, contingent, relative. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for conditional
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • You might have helped me to a phrase—A conditional kind of liking!

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9) Samuel Richardson
  • So that this is but conditional liking still, you'll say: nor, I hope, is it more.

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9) Samuel Richardson
  • Makes a conditional appointment with him for the next night, in the garden.

    Clarissa, Volume 2 (of 9) Samuel Richardson
  • conditional immorality they're calling it—the singlerest thing I know.

    The Manxman Hall Caine
  • I should give a conditional acceptance, and treat for a reduction of the amount.'

    Lord Kilgobbin Charles Lever
British Dictionary definitions for conditional


depending on other factors; not certain
(grammar) (of a clause, conjunction, form of a verb, or whole sentence) expressing a condition on which something else is contingent: "If he comes" is a conditional clause in the sentence "If he comes I shall go"
  1. (of an equation or inequality) true for only certain values of the variable: x² –1 = x + 1 is a conditional equation, only true for x = 2 or –1
  2. (of an infinite series) divergent when the absolute values of the terms are considered
(logic) Also hypothetical. (of a proposition) consisting of two component propositions associated by the words if…then so that the proposition is false only when the antecedent is true and the consequent false. Usually written: pq or pq, where p is the antecedent, q the consequent, and → or ⊃ symbolizes implies
  1. a conditional form of a verb
  2. a conditional clause or sentence
(logic) a conditional proposition
Derived Forms
conditionality, noun
conditionally, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for conditional

late 14c., condicionel, from Old French condicionel (Modern French conditionnel), from Latin conditionalis, from condicionem (see condition (n.)). Related: Conditionally.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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