Is there a verb for "to make optional"? I've searched questoins on this site, thesaurus.com, and looked in my paper thesaurus and dictionary, but don't see anything.

Context for how I plan to use the word is in changelist. The changelist identifies items that were "added", "removed", "updated" and "made optional." I'm looking for a single word to replace "made optional."

Thanks in advance!

  • [on hold] optionalize, to make optional (M-W)
    – user51029
    Commented Sep 16, 2013 at 21:42
  • It seems like this is not a well-thought-out set. If I've made an existing entity optional, haven't I just modified that entity? Why single out modifications to optionalize? What about modifications that make an optional entity mandatory?
    – Jim
    Commented Sep 17, 2013 at 3:02
  • @Jim, yes, technically any of the changes would be a modification. Symantics of whether 'modified' is an appropriate element of the set, whether there are missing elements or not (given the a tual need of the set) and the intended difference in meaning isn't the question, however :-)
    – atk
    Commented Sep 17, 2013 at 3:11
  • @Jim: In a software maintenance context, optionalised could be a very good fit. You want to know if a feature was added, because that may lead to "teething troubles". Later, it may turn out few people have much use for some feature that's still causing problems, so you remove or update it. But optionalising is a cheap way of ensuring the problems go away for everyone who didn't care about the feature anyway. Maybe the diehards will put up with some problems, or maybe you'll update it to improve things later. It all sounds reasonable to me - stick with it, atk! Commented Sep 17, 2013 at 4:25

3 Answers 3


I think that the best alternative, in this case, is “made optional”. The only (putative) fault it has is that of not being a single word. I think it has the advantage of being easier to understand — simpler. (If you count the space as a letter, it is only one letter longer.)

  • All of the answers are great, but considering my readers, this is the one that will be most intuitive. Thanks, everyone!
    – atk
    Commented Sep 23, 2013 at 15:48

As Atsuto comments, there's optionalize, defined by both Merriam-Webster and OED as...

optionalize (BrE optionalise) - to make optional.

  • The OED uses -ise? Since when?
    – tchrist
    Commented Sep 16, 2013 at 23:37
  • @tchrist: I naturally typed it with BrE spelling in the search box. Got the US spelling for the heading, but... optionalize, v. ... Forms: 19– optionalise, 19– optionalize. Etymology: optional adj. + -ize suffix. The OED hasn't gone completely "non-native" yet, you know. Commented Sep 17, 2013 at 3:26

While it may not be the most common usage, consider optioned

to obtain or grant an option on

To grant an option means

the power or liberty to choose

That is what is being done - you have created a situation in which the value can be chosen (or not).

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