op·​por·​tune ˌä-pər-ˈtün How to pronounce opportune (audio)
: suitable or convenient for a particular occurrence
an opportune moment
the legal authorities helped by the opportune use of their powers of arrestT. E. Vedney
: occurring at an appropriate time
an opportune offer of assistance
The book's publication is opportune.
opportunely adverb
opportuneness noun

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Opportune comes from Latin opportūnus, which can mean "favoring one's needs," "serviceable," or "convenient." The word is a combination of the prefix ob-, meaning "to," and portus, a word for a port or harbor. It alludes to choosing any port in a storm for safety.

Examples of opportune in a Sentence

There isn't a more opportune time to invest in the stock market. an opportune rain shower gave them an excuse to leave the outdoor concert early
Recent Examples on the Web The employee, identified in court records as 25-year-old Sylvester Carver, allegedly followed them in a black Tesla, waited for an opportune moment and riddled their Toyota with bullets from an automatic weapon. Nate Gartrell, The Mercury News, 28 May 2024 As Memorial Day weekend approaches, now is the most opportune time to stock up on gear and essentials to make the most of warm weather, plus amazing camping deals on Amazon. Kevin Brouillard, Travel + Leisure, 23 May 2024 Bullock said building a new bridge creates an opportune time to open up a debate, which should include community voices both for and against retaining Key’s name. Maya Lora, Baltimore Sun, 7 May 2024 The flow Viking has benefited from opportune timing for the cruise industry, namely its recovery from pandemic lockdowns that had wealthy vacationers itching for indulgent respites. Sasha Rogelberg, Fortune, 12 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for opportune 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'opportune.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English, borrowed from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French opportun, borrowed from Latin opportūnus "favoring one's needs, serviceable, convenient," probably originally, "blowing in the direction of a harbor (of a wind)," from ob- ob- + portu-, stem of portus "harbor, port entry 1" + -nus, adjective suffix (vowel length perhaps after the ablative portū)

Note: The name of a god of harbors, Portūnus, appears to be a secondary formation by analogy with Neptūnus "Neptune."

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of opportune was in the 15th century


Dictionary Entries Near opportune

Cite this Entry

“Opportune.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/opportune. Accessed 21 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


op·​por·​tune ˌäp-ər-ˈt(y)ün How to pronounce opportune (audio)
: suitable sense 1, timely
an opportune moment to act
opportunely adverb

Middle English opportune "opportune, suitable, fit," from early French opportun (same meaning), from Latin opportunus "fit, suitable, convenient," from ob- "toward" and portus "harbor"

Word Origin
The Latin adjective opportunus was used to mean "fit, suitable, or convenient." It was formed from the prefix ob-, meaning "toward," and portus, meaning "harbor." The original meaning was probably "blowing in the direction of a harbor (of a wind)," and hence "favoring one's needs, convenient." The French took the word as opportun with the same basic meaning, and the word came into English as opportune in the 15th century. Nowadays it is often applied to a suitable or favorable time for something, or to something that occurs or is done at just the right time.

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