Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary


noun op·por·tu·ni·ty \ˌä-pər-ˈtü-nə-tē, -ˈtyü-\

Simple Definition of opportunity

  • : an amount of time or a situation in which something can be done

Full Definition of opportunity

plural op·por·tu·ni·ties

  1. 1 :  a favorable juncture of circumstances <the halt provided an opportunity for rest and refreshment>

  2. 2 :  a good chance for advancement or progress

Examples of opportunity

  1. A phony war because its stated objective—eradicating terrorism—is impossible and serves to mask unstated, alarmingly open-ended goals, a kind of fishing expedition that provides an opportunity for America to display its intimidating arsenal … —John Edgar Wideman, Harper's, March 2002

  2. Nowadays my only opportunity for an old-fashioned, self-indulgent sulk comes when I'm traveling. —Ian Frazier, Atlantic, March 2001

  3. I'm handing you an opportunity in the heart of the city where the whole world's heading: journalists, corporate leeches, Japanese tourists, Greco-Roman wrestlers. —Gary Smith, Illustrated, 11 Sept. 2000

  4. More than 90 percent of female senior managers believe that men's and women's opportunities remain unequal … —Katha Pollitt, Atlantic, November 1997

  5. You'll have an opportunity to ask questions after the presentation.

  6. When the opportunity came for her to prove that she could do the job, she was ready.

  7. I had the rare opportunity of speaking to the president.

  8. Studying abroad provides a great opportunity to learn a foreign language.

  9. There are fewer job opportunities this year for graduates.

  10. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who helped me with this book.

  11. He was given every opportunity to prove that he was trustworthy.

  12. There is plenty of opportunity for advancement within the company.

Origin of opportunity

(see opportune)

First Known Use: 14th century

Rhymes with opportunity

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up opportunity? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


February 13, 2016

a trying or distressing experience

Get Word of the Day daily email!


Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!


How much does a batman (the Turkish unit of measurement) weigh?

196.5 pounds 16.96 pounds 100 pounds 2.2 pounds
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.