op·​por·​tun·​ist | \ ˌä-pər-ˈtü-nist How to pronounce opportunist (audio) , -ˈtyü- \

Definition of opportunist

: one that is opportunistic or that practices opportunism a slick, shady, amoral opportunist who has only one desire: to get through life without a day of labor— Allan Ulrich Most burglars are opportunists.

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Other Words from opportunist

opportunist adjective

Examples of opportunist in a Sentence

a political opportunist who changed his health-care plan to win the election ever the opportunist, she immediately set about becoming the incoming administrator's new best friend
Recent Examples on the Web Railroad officials were less able to ignore the prostitutes, central European laborers, and other opportunists already established along Ship Creek. David Reamer, Anchorage Daily News, "How South Addition became Anchorage’s first red-light district," 10 Feb. 2020 Kelly has declined to participate in the Lifetime series, and his camp and defenders have dismissed the women in the series as opportunists who have used their platform to bolster their careers. Lorraine Ali, Los Angeles Times, "Review: Sequel ‘The Reckoning’ strengthens ‘Surviving R. Kelly’s’ case against disgraced singer," 2 Jan. 2020 With America’s politicians distracted by electoral rivalry at home, opportunists elsewhere will be tempted to try their luck. The Economist, "Buckle up for America’s ugly election and faltering economy," 25 Dec. 2019 Opportunity knocks With its profits vanishing and its value reduced by 90%, Ted Baker is now extremely vulnerable to opportunists. Geoffrey Smith, Fortune, "‘Hug-Gate,’ Inventory Screw-ups, Ousted CEOs: How a Fashion Retailer Went from On Trend to On the Brink," 19 Dec. 2019 This was the Dark Knight’s persistent worry: Who were the true believers at the conference, and who were the opportunists? Thomas Meaney, Harper's magazine, "Trumpism After Trump," 20 Jan. 2020 The decimation of a landscape’s vegetation may draw in opportunists as well. Matt Simon, Wired, "Wildfires Are Obliterating Australia's Iconic Ecosystems," 8 Jan. 2020 The growth of unapproved therapies led the FDA to confront opportunists who were subverting the government approval process by advertising untested treatments. Ashley Belanger, Ars Technica, "Google attempts to protect users from sketchy stem cell clinics," 30 Nov. 2019 Lutsenko is described by a lot of journalists and analysts in Ukraine as a political opportunist. NBC News, "Transcript: Rudy's Helpers," 30 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'opportunist.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of opportunist

1873, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for opportunist

opportun(ism) + -ist entry 1, probably after French opportuniste

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Time Traveler for opportunist

Time Traveler

The first known use of opportunist was in 1873

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Statistics for opportunist

Last Updated

17 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Opportunist.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/opportunist. Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for opportunist


How to pronounce opportunist (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of opportunist

disapproving : someone who tries to get an advantage or something valuable from a situation without thinking about what is fair or right


op·​por·​tun·​ist | \ ˌäp-ər-ˈt(y)ü-nəst How to pronounce opportunist (audio) \

Medical Definition of opportunist

: an opportunistic microorganism

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