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

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 The Baggies stunned the Red Devils courtesy of an opportunistic second half goal from striker Jay Rodriguez, thus confirming Manchester City's status as Premier League champions. SI.com, "West Brom Boss Darren Moore Hails His Club's 'Wonderful Belief' After Stunning Win Over Man Utd," 16 Apr. 2018 The Seahawks have their own issues as well, but their defense has been opportunistic, with eight takeaways in their first three games. The Seattle Times, "Pick 'Em," 28 Oct. 2018 Instead, the private-public construction of Obamacare has given opportunistic Republicans their most effective attacks on the bill. Ezra Klein, Vox, "The Republican strategy to pass Medicare-for-all continues.," 15 Dec. 2018 By the years after World War II, when Mr. Frere was building his reputation as an opportunistic investor with impeccable timing, Charleroi was fading. Patrick Mcgroarty, WSJ, "Belgian Billionaire Was a Quiet Force in Europe’s Boardrooms," 7 Dec. 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

4 Feb 2019

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on opportunistic

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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).


excited commotion or publicity

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