Meaning of OPTION in English


op ‧ tion S1 W2 AC /ˈɒpʃ ə n $ ˈɑːp-/ BrE AmE noun

[ Word Family: verb : ↑ opt , ↑ coopt ; noun : ↑ option ; adverb : optionally; adjective : ↑ optional ]

[ Date: 1500-1600 ; Language: French ; Origin: Latin optio 'free choice' ]

1 . CHOICE [countable] a choice you can make in a particular situation ⇨ optional :

There are a number of options available.

He had two options.

This was not the only option open to him.

option for

a range of options for cutting costs

one/another option is to do something

Another option is to rent somewhere for six months.

option of doing something

She had the option of staying for an extra year.

Teenage mothers often have no option but to (=have no other choice except to) live with their parents.

2 . keep/leave your options open to wait before making a decision:

I’m keeping all my options open for the moment.

3 . COMPUTERS [countable] one of the possible choices you can make when using computer software:

Select an option from the main menu.

a list of options

4 . easy option ( also soft option British English ) the choice which will be the least difficult, least strict, or need the least effort, which someone might choose because they are lazy:

Is community service just a soft option for criminals?

5 . RIGHT TO BUY/SELL [countable] formal the right to buy or sell something in the future

option on

The government has agreed to buy 20 planes, with an option on a further 10.

Connor now owns 302,000 shares and options.

6 . AT SCHOOL/UNIVERSITY [countable] British English one of the subjects that you can choose to study at school for an examination, or as part of a course at a college or university:

advice on choosing your options

7 . SOMETHING ADDITIONAL [countable] something that is offered in addition to the standard equipment when you buy something new, especially a car

8 . first option the chance to buy or get something before anyone else

first option on

They’ve agreed to give us the first option on their apartment.

• • •


■ verbs

▪ have an option

At the moment, children have the option of leaving school at 16.


In a situation like this, you have two options.

▪ give/offer somebody an option

Some employees were given the option of retiring early.


Buyers will usually be offered the option of paying in instalments.

▪ choose an option

Fewer women are choosing the option of motherhood.

▪ go for an option (=choose an option)

Which option do you think they'll go for?

▪ take (up) an option (=choose an option )

America was persuaded not to take up the option of military action.

▪ look at an option (=consider an option)

You have to look at every option as your business develops.

▪ limit your options (=limit what you can choose to do)

If you don’t go to college, it may limit your options.

■ adjectives

▪ a good/better option

Renting a house may be a better option than buying.

▪ an attractive option (=one that sounds or is good)

If time is short, taking the car to northern France is an attractive option.

▪ a realistic/real/serious option (=something that you can really choose to do)

I wanted to start my own business but financially it was never a realistic option.

▪ a viable/practical option (=something you can choose that will be successful)

Surgery may be a viable option when all else fails.

▪ a popular option

Independent sixth-form colleges are becoming a popular option.

▪ a cheap option

We urgently need to find a cheaper option than oil or gas.

▪ a safe option (=one that involves no risk)

A special savings account can be a safe option.

▪ sb’s preferred option formal (=the option someone likes best)

The new scheme appears to be the airport management’s preferred option.

▪ an easy option ( also a soft option British English ) (=a choice which is not difficult, or which needs the least effort)

For most people, divorce is never an easy option.

■ phrases

▪ an option is open/available to somebody (=a particular choice is available to someone)

Giving a prison sentence is only one of the options open to the judge.

▪ keep/leave your options open (=to not limit what you can choose to do later)

Studying a broad range of subjects helps to keep your options open.

▪ have no/little option but to do something (=have no other choice than to do something)

I had no option but to fire him.

▪ a range of options

The council is considering a range of options for improving the city’s transport system.

• • •


▪ choice : choice of :

The school seems OK, but there isn’t a great choice of courses.

| have a choice (=be able to choose from several things) :

With her high grades and athletic skill, Celeste had her choice of colleges.

| have no choice but to do something (=to be forced to do something because there is nothing else you can choose) :

Spooner says he had no choice but to file for bankruptcy.

| wide choice (=a lot of things to choose from) :

There is a wide choice of hotels and hostels in the town.

▪ option one of the things that you can choose to do in a particular situation:

He basically has two options: he can have the surgery, or he can give up playing football.

| keep/leave your options open (=delay choosing so that you continue to have several things to choose from) :

I haven’t signed any contracts yet – I want to keep my options open.

▪ alternative one of two or more ways of doing something:

Did you consider other alternatives before you moved in with Lucy?

| alternative to :

There is no practical alternative to our current policy.

| have no alternative (=to not have a choice) :

He says he doesn’t want to see a doctor, but I’m afraid he has no alternative.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.