optional Definition

  • 1left to one's own choice; not required or mandatory
  • 2available to be chosen but not obligatory

Using optional: Examples

Take a moment to familiarize yourself with how "optional" can be used in various situations through the following examples!

  • Example

    The essay is optional, but it can help your application.

  • Example

    The dress code is optional for this event.

  • Example

    The extra credit assignment is completely optional.

  • Example

    The company offers optional health insurance for its employees.

optional Synonyms and Antonyms

Phrases with optional

  • optional extras

    additional features or services that are available but not included in the basic package


    The car comes with a variety of optional extras, such as a sunroof and heated seats.

  • choose a different path or method than the usual or expected one


    If you want to avoid traffic, you can take the optional route through the back roads.

  • a course or subject that is not required but can be chosen by a student


    In high school, I took Spanish as an optional subject.

Origins of optional

from Latin 'optare', meaning 'to choose'


Summary: optional in Brief

The term 'optional' [ˈɒpʃənl] refers to something that is not required or mandatory, but rather left to one's own choice. It can describe anything from a dress code to a course subject, as in 'The dress code is optional for this event.' 'Optional' also extends to phrases like 'optional extras,' which are additional features that are available but not included in the basic package.

How do native speakers use this expression?