American English

Definition of option noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary

        

    option

     noun
    noun
    NAmE//ˈɑpʃn//
     
     
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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 that you will have to pay extra for).
  2. 2 [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. stock options (= the right to buy stock in a company)
  3. 3[countable] (computing) one of the choices you can make when using a computer program Choose the “Cut” option from the Edit menu.
  4. Idioms
    the easy/soft option (often disapproving)
     
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    a choice that 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. Thesaurusoptionchoice 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:We are currently studying all the options available. He was given one month's imprisonment without the option of a fine. 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. She has a number of choices available to her.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 check 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
    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 For now, I'm keeping my options open and applying for as many different jobs as possible.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: option