occasional

When something happens from time to time on an irregular basis, we say it is an occasional occurrence. For example, you might have an occasional lunch with a friend. If your friend ever picked up the bill, maybe it would happen more often.

Occasional is a few steps removed from the Latin cadere, "to fall." So you might think of something occasional as something that happens "to fall" just whenever it happens to fall. Speaking of falling, Voltaire once wrote, "The best government is a benevolent tyranny tempered by an occasional assassination." An occasional election might do in a pinch.

Definitions of occasional
1

adj occurring from time to time

“an occasional worker”
Synonyms:
casual
irregular
contrary to rule or accepted order or general practice

adj occurring from time to time

“took an occasional glass of wine”
Synonyms:
infrequent
not frequent; not occurring regularly or at short intervals

adj occurring or appearing at usually irregular intervals

occasional headaches”
Synonyms:
episodic
unpredictable
not capable of being foretold

adj recurring or reappearing from time to time

Synonyms:
periodic
sporadic
recurring in scattered and irregular or unpredictable instances

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.