op·​por·​tun·​ist ˌä-pər-ˈtü-nist How to pronounce opportunist (audio)
: 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 laborAllan Ulrich
Most burglars are opportunists.
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 Warren: Being an opportunist in the right way, that means grabbing every opportunity. Yvonne Villarreal, Los Angeles Times, 15 Feb. 2024 Footage from a camera near the home's front door, which Dr. M's family shared with Southlake DPS, clearly shows an opportunist opossum burgled the baked goods. Kelli Bender, Peoplemag, 1 Feb. 2024 But the move by Colorado’s justices invigorated the dump-Trump movement and catalyzed opportunists like California’s lieutenant governor, Eleni Kounalakis. Mark Z. Barabak, Los Angeles Times, 27 Dec. 2023 To thrive in so many different environments, felines became opportunists. Celia Ford, WIRED, 12 Dec. 2023 These fish are opportunists that feast on a wide array of food depending on what’s available. Outdoor Life, 30 Nov. 2023 That was enough to draw the ire of the MAGA camp, which has some justification in viewing Ryan as an opportunist. John Cassidy, The New Yorker, 18 Dec. 2023 Authorities and the country’s leadership condemned opportunists who used the attack as an excuse to riot and destroy public property. Bradford Betz, Fox News, 29 Nov. 2023 In the hospice industry, and in the nursing home field as well, the provider network became inundated by equity and real estate investors, among other opportunists without a shred of experience in healthcare. Steve Lopez, Los Angeles Times, 18 Nov. 2023 See More

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

Word History


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

First Known Use

1873, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of opportunist was in 1873

Dictionary Entries Near opportunist

Cite this Entry

“Opportunist.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/opportunist. Accessed 2 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


op·​por·​tun·​ist -ˈt(y)ü-nəst How to pronounce opportunist (audio)
: one that is opportunistic or that practices opportunism
opportunist adjective

Medical Definition


op·​por·​tun·​ist ˌäp-ər-ˈt(y)ü-nəst How to pronounce opportunist (audio)
: an opportunistic microorganism

More from Merriam-Webster on opportunist

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