Definition of conditional in English:



  • 1Subject to one or more conditions or requirements being met; made or granted on certain terms.

    ‘Western aid was only granted conditional on further reform’
    ‘the consortium has made a conditional offer’
    • ‘The council has given conditional support to a referendum, but has expressed concern over a number of issues.’
    • ‘These conditional drug company offers have angered AIDS groups.’
    • ‘Although only aged 12 and 13, the children will receive conditional offers of university places in the city which are dependent on their subsequent academic performance.’
    • ‘A further 20 students have received conditional offers.’
    • ‘When asked about his views on the canal he declined even conditional support, listing numerous hurdles required to be overcome before approval would be considered for federal funding.’
    • ‘Months of hard work and dedication paid off when literature lover Jane, 37, was given a conditional offer to study English at Harris Manchester College, which caters for mature students.’
    • ‘He also offered conditional support to the June summit.’
    • ‘On the other hand, with the organic view of self, the transformational leader puts more value on interdependence, conditional autonomy and meeting social obligations toward others.’
    • ‘But this support is clearly conditional and tenuous, even if that's never explicitly stated by either party.’
    • ‘This conditional offer became known as ‘the pocket,’ as it was placed in Warren Christopher's pocket.’
    • ‘Those offenders will be offered conditional cautions in future, meaning they will escape prosecution but must agree to co-operate with rehabilitation projects.’
    • ‘Richmond council recently gave its conditional support to a soil treatment project in our city.’
    • ‘Essex County Council, which owns the building, has given a conditional offer of financial help, worth about £90,000, to the campaigners.’
    • ‘It was agreed by the meeting for the clerk to proceed with the conditional offer made to rent the Pound for a period of two years with the proviso that the old tin shed could be removed.’
    • ‘She had a conditional offer from art school but deliberately sabotaged her exams.’
    • ‘The healthcare professional, who has been offered a conditional post, will begin working in the county from January 2005.’
    • ‘It said that ‘crucially’ students with underestimated grades did ‘not receive the conditional offers that they merit’.’
    • ‘It may be permitted subject to a conditional use permit (meaning you have to meet certain additional criteria before you build or remodel), or it may not be allowed at all.’
    • ‘Legal sources have expressed mixed views over the true meaning of the company's conditional offer to meet future claims, with some on the union side now extremely sceptical.’
    • ‘Mr. Hood said at the time the consortium made their bid too late and it was a conditional offer.’
    subject to, dependent on, depending on, contingent on, hingeing on, resting on, hanging on, based on, determined by, controlled by, tied to, bound up with
    contingent, dependent, qualified, with reservations, limited, restrictive, provisional
    View synonyms
  • 2Grammar
    (of a clause, phrase, conjunction, or verb form) expressing a condition.

    • ‘Somehow that conditional clause seemed to drop away from most of the press reports.’
    • ‘As indicated above, this is an argument with conditional clauses all of which are debatable.’
    • ‘And she puts it in a conditional clause, which makes a difference.’
    • ‘God's promise of the Land of Israel to the Jews has its unconditional clause and its conditional clause.’
    • ‘Marriage vows don't include a conditional fulfillment clause.’


  • 1Philosophy
    A conditional clause or conjunction.

    • ‘But notice that it is not a conjunction of conditionals of the form ‘If John said that p, then p,’ each with a true antecedent.’
    • ‘There are a variety of conditionals in English, each type having a distinct meaning.’
    • ‘Subjunctive conditionals are connected with natural laws.’
    • ‘Let us turn now, though, to subjunctive conditionals contextualism.’
    • ‘This should have been a conjunction, not a conditional.’
    1. 1.1 A statement or sentence containing a conditional clause.
      • ‘But it's my guess that most people take the first two clauses of the song as the protases of a conditional, rather than as rhetorical questions.’
      • ‘Recall that a conditional is a sentence of the form if a then c, which we are writing as a c.’
      • ‘A particularly clear case of where you need it is in counterfactual conditionals: ‘If you did not sign on, your account could be temporarily suspended.’’
      • ‘Note that the inductive argument the agents run through depends upon the conclusions they each draw from several counterfactual conditionals.’
      • ‘This possible world account of counterfactual conditionals is widely accepted, and partly for this reason the idiom of possible worlds is now a familiar feature of philosophical discourse.’
  • 2The conditional mood of a verb, for example should die in if I should die.

    • ‘Romanian uses an analytic construction for the conditional.’
    • ‘The grammar of the lyrics uses what is called the conditional.’
    • ‘In this learn Spanish grammar lesson, we review the Spanish conditional tense and how to conjugate Spanish verbs in the conditional.’


Late Middle English: from Old French condicionel or late Latin condicionalis, from condicio(n-) agreement (see condition).