op·por·tu·nis·tic | \ˌä-pər-tü-ˈni-stik, -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

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Other Words from opportunistic

opportunistically \ˌä-pər-tü-ˈni-sti-k(ə-)lē, -tyü- \ adverb

Examples of opportunistic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

But opportunistic or abusive claims are unfortunately numerous in the current caseload, particularly among people who seek asylum after having been in the United States for a while. David A. Martin, Vox, "How to fix the crisis caused by Central American asylum seekers — humanely," 2 July 2018 Sometimes that player gets dropped in too many leagues, allowing patient or opportunistic owners to grab a guy who never should have been available in the first place. Michael Beller, SI.com, "Matt Adams is Back from the DL and Ready to Help Fantasy Teams," 7 July 2018 Wilcott settled down after that and Friendswood's offense proved to be opportunistic. Ted Dunnam, Houston Chronicle, "Baseball: Friendswood feasts on Clear Falls, 15-3," 20 Mar. 2018 Russia tasted defeat for the first time in this summer's FIFA World Cup, as an impressive free kick from Luis Suarez, an unfortunate own goal and an opportunistic effort by Edinson Cavani sealed a deserved victory for Uruguay in Samara on Monday. SI.com, "Uruguay 3-0 Russia: World Cup Hosts Brought Crashing Down to Earth by Ruthless Uruguayans," 25 June 2018 The second is that the reversals have been driven by opportunistic strongmen rather than the voters’ embrace of illiberal ideology. The Economist, "Lessons from the rise of strongmen in weak states," 14 June 2018 But an opportunistic gray squirrel named Sciuridae, played with gleeful scene-stealing bravado by two-time Tony nominee Brad Oscar, preys on Scurius’ prejudices. Pam Kragen, sandiegouniontribune.com, "La Jolla Playhouse's apocalyptic 'Squirrels' a dark, funny look at prejudice," 14 June 2018 The Theranos story was sort of an opportunistic dive into the field of blood diagnostics. Recode Staff, Recode, "Full transcript: WSJ investigative journalist John Carreyrou on Recode Decode," 3 June 2018 Shaun is a supermom who’s always one barefoot step ahead of the opportunistic crew, led by Eddie (Billy Burke), who spends more time psychoanalyzing her than actually getting anything done. Katie Walsh, kansascity, "In ‘Breaking In,’ Gabrielle Union is one fierce mama | The Kansas City Star," 10 May 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.

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First Known Use of opportunistic

1892, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for opportunistic

opportunist + -ic entry 1

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Last Updated

14 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for opportunistic

The first known use of opportunistic was in 1892

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More Definitions for opportunistic


op·por·tu·nist·ic | \-t(y)ü-ˈnis-tik \

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

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not any or not one

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