[ fak-uhl-tey-tiv ]
/ ˈfæk əlˌteɪ tɪv /
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conferring a faculty, privilege, permission, or the power of doing or not doing something: a facultative enactment.
left to one's option or choice; optional: The last questions in the examination were facultative.
that may or may not take place; that may or may not assume a specified character.
Biology. having the capacity to live under more than one specific set of environmental conditions, as a plant that can lead either a parasitic or a nonparasitic life or a bacterium that can live with or without air (opposed to obligate).
of or relating to the faculties.
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Origin of facultative

First recorded in 1820-25; from French facultative (feminine) “conveying or granting a right or power,” from faculté “knowledge, learning, physical or moral capacity,” ultimately from Latin facultāt-, the stem of facultās (originally a doublet of the noun facilitās “ease, ease of performance or completion, facility”) “ability, power, capacity” + -ative adjective suffix; see faculty, -ive

OTHER WORDS FROM facultative

fac·ul·ta·tive·ly, adverbnon·fac·ul·ta·tive, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use facultative in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for facultative

/ (ˈfækəltətɪv) /

empowering but not compelling the doing of an act
philosophy that may or may not occur
insurance denoting a form of reinsurance in which the reinsurer has no obligation to accept a particular risk nor the insurer to reinsure, terms and conditions being negotiated for each reinsurance
biology able to exist under more than one set of environmental conditionsa facultative parasite can exist as a parasite or a saprotroph Compare obligate (def. 4)
of or relating to a faculty

Derived forms of facultative

facultatively, 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

Scientific definitions for facultative

[ făkəl-tā′tĭv ]

Capable of existing under varying environmental conditions or by assuming various behaviors. Bacteria that are facultative aerobes can live in both aerobic and anaerobic environments. A facultative parasite can live independently of its usual host. Compare obligate.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.