op·​por·​tun·​ism ˌä-pər-ˈtü-ˌni-zəm How to pronounce opportunism (audio)
: the art, policy, or practice of taking advantage of opportunities or circumstances often with little regard for principles or consequences

Examples of opportunism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web For a decade, the central drama of Trumpism has concerned the Republican élites who continued to support him—the story has been about their malignity, or opportunism, or willful moral blindness. Benjamin Wallace-Wells, The New Yorker, 16 Sep. 2023 Oregon stabbed many in the back with its move and took opportunism to a slimy no-trust extreme. Ndaschel, oregonlive, 8 Aug. 2023 On van Gogh’s birthday, a brazen theft raises alarms about crimes of opportunism during the coronavirus crisis Authorities say Peter Roy K, who was in prison for a separate case involving the large-scale import and export of cocaine, commissioned the theft in a bid to negotiate a lower sentence. María Luisa Paúl, Washington Post, 14 Sep. 2023 In its economic relations, Moscow has capitalized on the opportunism of countries indifferent to the conflict: the Kremlin aims to integrate Russia into non-Western networks of trade, defense, and commerce. Michael Kimmage and Hanna Notte, Foreign Affairs, 1 Sep. 2023 Most of the time some alchemical combination of sociability, political savvy and opportunism is more important. Philip Martin, Arkansas Online, 5 Sep. 2023 That many get elected after not making it elsewhere suggests voters may not be too concerned about insider criticism of district shopping and political opportunism. Michael Smolens, San Diego Union-Tribune, 19 July 2023 There is an element of opportunism in Al Hilal’s approach. Rory Smith, New York Times, 24 July 2023 But Russia’s invasion of Ukraine should finally shatter the fiction that keeping substantial NATO forces west of Germany will lead to anything other than military opportunism from Russia. A. Wess Mitchell, Foreign Affairs, 5 July 2023 See More

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

Word History


opportune + -ism, after Italian opportunismo and French opportunisme

First Known Use

1870, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of opportunism was in 1870

Dictionary Entries Near opportunism

Cite this Entry

“Opportunism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/opportunism. Accessed 4 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


op·​por·​tun·​ism ˌäp-ər-ˈt(y)ü-ˌniz-əm How to pronounce opportunism (audio)
: the practice of taking advantage of opportunities or circumstances regardless of what one should do or what might happen

More from Merriam-Webster on opportunism

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