I've seen "opt out" used in some places and "opt-out" in others. Both seem to be used in the same way - to remove one's self from something. I'm not able to find any official sources that suggest which is correct.

Which is proper?


I Googled for several variations of "opt out vs opt-out". I was unable to find any articles or pages that directly discussed the differences between the two. The search results all seemed to define one of the phrases or the other in very similar terms (the difference was still not clear).

I checked www.dictionary.com. I was only able to find a definition for "opt out", not a version for "opt-out". The definition I did find was similar to the definitions above.

I searched the English Language & Usage (this) site for the phrases "opt out" and "opt-out" but was unable to find a question that answered the above. The questions mostly seemed to compare "opt out" or "opt-out" to another similar word ("withdraw" for example).


2 Answers 2


"Opt out" without the hyphen would be taken as a verb--that is, to opt out or remove oneself from something.

I've opted out of attending the conference.

"Opt-out" with the hyphen may be used as a compound adjective:

Be sure to make a decision before the opt-out period

Where "opt-out" here describes the period.


It depends what part of speech it is.

Verb: No Hyphen

opt out

Choose not to participate in something.
you can opt out of the state pension scheme
Oxford Dictionaries

Noun: Hyphen


An instance of choosing not to participate in something.
opt-outs from key parts of the treaty
Oxford Dictionaries

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