English

Definition of option noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

        

    option

     noun
    noun
    BrE BrE//ˈɒpʃn//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈɑːpʃn//
     
    Economy, Using a computer
     
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  1. 1  [countable, uncountable] something that you can choose to have or do; the freedom to choose what you do As I see it, we have two options… There are various options open to you. We are currently studying all the options available. Going to college was not an option for me. I had no option but to (= I had to) ask him to leave. option (of doing something) Students have the option of studying abroad in their second year. option (to do something) A savings plan that gives you the option to vary your monthly payments. He was given one month’s imprisonment without the option of a fine. This particular model comes with a wide range of options (= things you can choose to have when buying something but which you will have to pay extra for). Synonymsoptionchoice alternative possibilityThese are all words for something that you choose to do in a particular situation.option something that you can choose to have or do; the freedom to choose what you do:As I see it, we have two options… Students have the option of studying abroad in their second year. Option is also the word used in computing for one of the choices you can make when using a computer program:Choose the ‘Cut’ option from the Edit menu.choice the freedom to choose what you do; something that you can choose to have or do:If I had the choice, I would stop working tomorrow. There is a wide range of choices open to you.alternative something that you can choose to have or do out of two or more possibilities:You can be paid in cash weekly or by cheque monthly: those are the two alternatives.option, choice or alternative?Choice is slightly less formal than option and alternative is slightly more formal. Choice is most often used for ‘the freedom to choose’, although you can sometimes also use option (but not usually alternative):If I had the choice/​option, I would… If I had the alternative, I would… parental choice in education parental option/​alternative in education. Things that you can choose are options, choices or alternatives. However, alternative is more frequently used to talk about choosing between two things rather than several.possibility one of the different things that you can do in a particular situation:We need to explore a wide range of possibilities. The possibilities are endless. Possibility can be used in a similar way to option, choice and alternative, but the emphasis here is less on the need to make a choice, and more on what is available.Patterns with/​without the option/​choice/​possibility of something a(n) good/​acceptable/​reasonable/​possible option/​choice/​alternative the only option/​choice/​alternative/​possibility open to somebody to have a/​an/​the option/​choice of doing something to have no option/​choice/​alternative but to do something a number/​range of options/​choices/​alternatives/​possibilities
  2. 2  [countable] a subject that a student can choose to study, but that they do not have to do The course offers options in design and computing.
  3. 3[countable] the right to buy or sell something at some time in the future option (on something) We have an option on the house. He has promised me first option on his car (= the opportunity to buy it before anyone else). option (to do something) The property is for rent with an option to buy at any time. share options (= the right to buy shares in a company) See related entries: Economy
  4. 4 [countable] (computing) one of the choices you can make when using a computer program Choose the ‘Cut’ option from the Edit menu. See related entries: Using a computer
  5. Word Origin mid 16th cent.: from French, or from Latin optio(n-), from the stem of optare ‘choose’.Extra examples Deciding on your best option is not easy. He thought General Studies would be a soft option. He was jailed without the option of a fine. He’s promised me first option on his car. Let’s look at all the options available. Look at the on-screen menu and select the ‘File’ option. Resignation was her only option. She took up an option in her contract to buy three million shares. We had no option but to leave without them. You have the option of taking your holiday early. You have the option of working full-time or part-time. A savings plan gives you the option to vary your monthly payments. He was given one month’s imprisonment without the option of a fine. I had no option but to ask him to leave. It is important at this stage to leave your options open. There was not much option but to sell the company. This particular model comes with a wide range of options.Idioms
    keep/leave your options open
     
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     to avoid making a decision now so that you still have a choice in the future At the moment I'm keeping my options open and applying for as many different jobs as possible.
    (often disapproving) a choice which is thought to be easier because it involves less effort, difficulty, etc. They are anxious that the new course should not be seen as a soft option. He decided to take the easy option and give them what they wanted.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: option