op·​por·​tu·​nis·​tic | \ ˌä-pər-tü-ˈni-stik How to pronounce opportunistic (audio) , -tyü-\

Definition of opportunistic

: taking advantage of opportunities as they arise: such as
a : exploiting opportunities with little regard to principle (see principle sense 1) or consequences a politician considered opportunistic an opportunistic investment
b : feeding on whatever food is available opportunistic feeders opportunistic bears
c : being or caused by a usually harmless microorganism that can become pathogenic when the host's resistance is impaired opportunistic infections opportunistic diseases

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from opportunistic

opportunistically \ ˌä-​pər-​tü-​ˈni-​sti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce opportunistically (audio) , -​tyü-​ \ adverb

Examples of opportunistic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Fiat Chrysler’s approach is opportunistic in its timing. Stephen Wilmot, WSJ, "Fiat Chrysler Undervalues Renault, but So Does the Market," 30 May 2019 Such career moves tend to be personally opportunistic. Li Yuan, WSJ, "China Mines Silicon Valley for Tech Talent," 26 June 2018 The Phillies did both, thanks to a strong start from Jake Arrieta, another fine relief performance from rookie Seranthony Dominguez and an opportunistic offense that relied on walks as much as hits. Bob Brookover, Philly.com, "Phillies and Braves could still be on top of NL East when they meet again in four months | Bob Brookover," 24 May 2018 High Risk, High Reward Blackstone Group’s opportunistic real-estate funds, which take on more risk in pursuit of greater rewards, have ballooned in size and delivered annual average net returns of 16%. Peter Grant, WSJ, "Blackstone Aims to Throw Weight Around With a Record Real Estate Fund," 15 Jan. 2019 The Tide came in scoring 48 points per game, but was shut out over the final 44 minutes by an opportunistic Clemson defense. Ralph D. Russo, The Seattle Times, "Orange Crush: Clemson topples No. 1 ‘Bama for national title," 8 Jan. 2019 Buffalo Bills: 2–14 The 2017 Bills team depended on LeSean McCoy racking up yards, low-risk quarterback play and an opportunistic defense. Jonathan Jones, SI.com, "Predicting Every NFL Team’s 2018 Season Record," 7 June 2018 Balanced scoring and opportunistic play served the Sharks well. Helene Elliott, latimes.com, "To become contenders again, Kings and Ducks have to get up to speed with rest of the NHL," 20 Apr. 2018 This confluence of personnel and personality has produced the type of snarling, opportunistic defense that Jacksonville, despite fruitful drafts and free-agency binges, has long coveted but never attained. Ben Shpigel, New York Times, "‘Not the Old Jags’: Defense Brings the Playoffs to Jacksonville," 4 Jan. 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of opportunistic

1892, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for opportunistic

opportunist + -ic entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about opportunistic

Statistics for opportunistic

Last Updated

10 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for opportunistic

The first known use of opportunistic was in 1892

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for opportunistic


op·​por·​tu·​nist·​ic | \ -t(y)ü-ˈnis-tik How to pronounce opportunistic (audio) \

Medical Definition of opportunistic

1 : of, relating to, or being a microorganism that is usually harmless but can become pathogenic when the host's resistance to disease is impaired
2 : of, relating to, or being an infection or disease caused by an opportunistic organism Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia and other opportunistic infections that kill AIDS patientsNew York Times

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on opportunistic

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with opportunistic

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for opportunistic

Spanish Central: Translation of opportunistic

Nglish: Translation of opportunistic for Spanish Speakers

Comments on opportunistic

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


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Dictionary Devil

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!