Try Our Apps


The Best Internet Slang


[op-shuh-nl] /ˈɒp ʃə nl/
left to one's choice; not required or mandatory:
Formal dress is optional.
leaving something to choice.
Origin of optional
First recorded in 1755-65; option + -al1
Related forms
optionality, noun
optionally, adverb
nonoptional, adjective
nonoptionally, adverb
unoptional, adjective
unoptionally, adverb
1. discretional, elective, voluntary. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for optional
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The use of a Scripture lesson is, of course, optional with the pastor.

  • The manner of fastening the ribs to the frame pieces is optional.

    Flying Machines W.J. Jackman and Thos. H. Russell
  • Hence we erase all optional marks in the 1st and 3rd rows, but let them stand in the 2nd.

    A Tangled Tale Lewis Carroll
  • It never occurred to him that that duty was only optional with him now.

    Once to Every Man Larry Evans
  • It is optional with the judges whether the use of a timepiece is to be allowed.

    Boy Scouts Handbook Boy Scouts of America
British Dictionary definitions for optional


possible but not compulsory; left to personal choice
Derived Forms
optionally, 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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for optional

1765, from option + -al (1).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for optional

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for optional

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for optional