See more synonyms for occasional on Thesaurus.com
  1. occurring or appearing at irregular or infrequent intervals; occurring now and then: an occasional headache.
  2. intended for supplementary use when needed: an occasional chair.
  3. pertaining to, arising out of, or intended for the occasion: occasional verses.
  4. acting or serving for the occasion or only on particular occasions.
  5. serving as the occasion or incidental cause.

Origin of occasional

First recorded in 1560–70; occasion + -al1
Related formsoc·ca·sion·al·ness, oc·ca·sion·al·i·ty, nounun·oc·ca·sion·al, adjectiveun·oc·ca·sion·al·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for occasional


  1. taking place from time to time; not frequent or regular
  2. of, for, or happening on special occasions
  3. serving as an occasion (for something)
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 occasional

late 14c., "occurring now and then," from occasion (n.) + -al (1). Meaning "casual" is 1560s. Meaning "happening on or pertaining to a particular occasion" is from 1630s. Of furniture, etc., from 1749.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper