Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to option: stock option, call option, put option
1. The use of nuclear weapons, as by the military, often considered a last resort. I'm worried about the repercussions if our military officials choose the nuclear option.
2. In the US Senate, a course of action allowing the majority party to end filibustering with a simple majority, rather than the usually required supermajority of 60%. Senators could, however, use the nuclear option to approve that nomination.
3. An especially drastic decision or action. Calling the CEO about this issue is definitely the nuclear option—let's see what we can do on our own first.
keep (one's) options open
To refrain from making a decision or commitment that will limit one's choices in the future. You're awfully young to be getting married. I just think you should keep your options open until you're finished with college. They've offered me a good salary if I stay with the company, but I think I'd like to keep my options open.
a soft option
A soft option is something that will not take much effort or not be very unpleasant. They do not simply become a nanny because they think it is a soft option, better than commuting to an office each day. We're not giving young offenders a soft option. Note: This expression is usually used to show disapproval.
keep (or leave) your options openavoid committing yourself.
1996 Colin Bateman Of Wee Sweetie Mice and Men Have it your way. We'll go to Princetown. But I'm keeping my options open. If there's any more trouble…we're out, we're home.
soft optionan easier alternative.
the ˌsoft/ˌeasy ˈoption(often disapproving) an easier way of doing something; an easier course of action because it involves less effort, difficulty, etc: If you want to go for the soft option, you can get the qualification in three years rather than two. ♢ He decided to take the easy option and give them what they wanted.
keep/leave (all) your ˈoptions openavoid making a decision now so that you still have a choice in the future: Doing business with him is sometimes quite stressful. He likes to keep all his options open until the very last minute.
All options stinkand AOS
phr. & comp. abb. All options stink.; There is no good solution. I don’t know what to do. All options stink. Since AOS, I’ll do nothing at all.