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From Late Latin mandatorius (of or belonging to a mandator), from mandātor (one who commands), equivalent to mandate +‎ -ory; see mandate.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈmæn.də.t(ə)ɹi/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈmæn.dəˌtɔɹ.i/
    • (æ-tensing) IPA(key): /ˈmɛən.dəˌtɔɹ.i/
    • Audio (US):(file)



mandatory (comparative more mandatory, superlative most mandatory)

  1. obligatory; required or commanded by authority.
    Synonyms: compulsory, obligatory; see also Thesaurus:compulsory
    Antonyms: optional, elective; see also Thesaurus:optional
    Attendance at a school is usually mandatory for children.
    • 1999, Ian Stewart, Jack Cohen, Figments of Reality: The Evolution of the Curious Mind, page 276:
      This kind of immediate control structure we take to be characteristic of the tribe, and it leads to a rather rigid type of system in which 'every action not mandatory is forbidden'.
    • 2011, Dirk Bünger, Deficits in EU and US Mandatory Environmental Information Disclosure: Legal, Comparative Legal and Economic Facets of Pollutant Release Inventories, Springer Science & Business Media, →ISBN, page 57:
      It also discusses the access to legal instruments for enforcement with regard to mandatory disclosure of environmental information.
    • 2021 December 29, Paul Stephen, “Rail's accident investigators”, in RAIL, number 947, pages 30–31:
      While in the most serious cases mounting an investigation is usually mandatory, there are other occasions where it is less clear-cut or when it is concluded that an investigation would not fulfil RAIB's objectives to improve safety or prevent future accidents.
  2. Of, being or relating to a mandate.

Derived terms



  • Portuguese: mandatório





mandatory (plural mandatories)

  1. (disc golf) A sign or line that require the path of the disc to be above, below or to one side of it.
    Synonym: (colloquial) mando
  2. (dated, rare) A person, organisation or state who receives a mandate; a mandatary.

Further reading