[ man-duh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee ]
/ ˈmæn dəˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i /


authoritatively ordered; obligatory; compulsory: It is mandatory that all students take two years of math.
pertaining to, of the nature of, or containing a command.
Law. permitting no option; not to be disregarded or modified: a mandatory clause.
having received a mandate, as a nation.

noun, plural man·da·to·ries.

Nearby words

  1. mandarinate,
  2. mandatary,
  3. mandate,
  4. mandates,
  5. mandator,
  6. mande,
  7. mandean,
  8. mandeans,
  9. mandel,
  10. mandela

Origin of mandatory

From the Late Latin word mandātōrius, dating back to 1655–65. See mandate, -tory1

Related formsman·da·to·ri·ly, adverbnon·man·da·to·ry, adjective, noun, plural non·man·da·to·ries.un·man·da·to·ry, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for mandatory

British Dictionary definitions for mandatory


/ (ˈmændətərɪ, -trɪ) /


having the nature or powers of a mandate
obligatory; compulsory
(of a state) having received a mandate over some territory

noun plural -ries

Also called: mandatary a person or state holding a mandate
Derived Formsmandatorily, 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

Word Origin and History for mandatory



1570s, "of the nature of a mandate," from Late Latin mandatorius "pertaining to a mandator," from Latin mandatus, past participle of mandare (see mandate (n.)). Sense of "obligatory because commanded" is from 1818.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper