Origin of casual

1325–75; Middle English < Latin cāsuālis, equivalent to cāsu(s) case1 + -ālis -al1; replacing Middle English casuel < Middle French < Latin as above
Related formscas·u·al·ly, adverbcas·u·al·ness, nouno·ver·cas·u·al, adjectiveo·ver·cas·u·al·ly, adverbo·ver·cas·u·al·ness, nounul·tra·cas·u·al, adjectiveul·tra·cas·u·al·ly, adverbul·tra·cas·u·al·ness, nounun·cas·u·al, adjectiveun·cas·u·al·ly, adverbun·cas·u·al·ness, noun

Synonyms for casual

Synonym study

1. See accidental.

Antonyms for casual Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for casual

Contemporary Examples of casual

Historical Examples of casual

  • Every day I meet men who tell the most wonderful stories in the most casual way.

    Ballads of a Bohemian

    Robert W. Service

  • His large voice was modulated to kindliness as he spoke in a casual manner.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • It came in a most casual voice, despite the dancing delight in her face.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • Kingozi's attention, however, now narrowed to a smaller circle than the casual.

    The Leopard Woman

    Stewart Edward White

  • But in her the action was so casual, so absent, that it did not affect me disagreeably.

    Questionable Shapes

    William Dean Howells

British Dictionary definitions for casual



happening by accident or chancea casual meeting
offhand; not premeditateda casual remark
shallow or superficiala casual affair
being or seeming unconcerned or apathetiche assumed a casual attitude
(esp of dress) for informal weara casual coat
occasional or irregularcasual visits; a casual labourer
biology another term for adventive


(usually plural) an informal article of clothing or footwear
an occasional worker
biology another term for an adventive
(usually plural) a young man dressed in expensive casual clothes who goes to football matches in order to start fights
Derived Formscasually, adverbcasualness, noun

Word Origin for casual

C14: from Late Latin cāsuālis happening by chance, from Latin cāsus event, from cadere to fall; see case 1
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

Word Origin and History for casual

late 14c., "subject to or produced by chance," from Middle French casuel (15c.), from Late Latin casualis "by chance," from Latin casus "chance, occasion, opportunity; accident, event" (see case (n.1)).

Of persons, in the sense of "not to be depended on, unmethodical," it is attested from 1883; meaning "showing lack of interest" is from 1916. Of clothes, "informal," from 1939. Related: Casually.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper