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 The union’s support of Mr. de Blasio has been just as opportunistic, but less direct. J. David Goodman, New York Times, "This Union Defeated Airbnb. Now It’s Taking Aim at a New Target.," 2 Jan. 2020 For the Texans to do anything in the playoffs, the defense is going to have to play good-enough, opportunistic ball in the playoffs for a short stretch. Stephanie Stradley, Houston Chronicle, "Stephanie Stradley’s Texans-Bills Q&A with Tim Graham," 2 Jan. 2020 The record hot and dry summer left bare ground and stressed lawns — environments that are ideal for opportunistic winter weeds to move in. Calvin Finch, ExpressNews.com, "Winter gardening issues facing San Antonio yards and what to do about them," 2 Jan. 2020 And, of course, for being opportunistic, which is a quality the great programs somehow conjure up when things look bleak. Los Angeles Times, "Oregon’s gritty Rose Bowl win shows a team poised for a breakthrough," 1 Jan. 2020 At its best, this is an opportunistic moment for the Haslams. Dan Labbe, cleveland, "Cleveland Browns’ instability starts at the top with ownership’s flavor-of-the-month approach," 31 Dec. 2019 So chances were diminished of any common and opportunistic concern between the West and Orthodox Russia against Islamic terrorism. Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, "A Russian Under Every Bed," 17 Dec. 2019 In a blog post, Gough Island field researcher Chris Jones writes that because mice are opportunistic and breed rapidly, changes in behavior spread through the population like wildfire. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Invasive Mice Are Gnawing the Scalps of Endangered Albatrosses," 10 Dec. 2019 But many on the reservation felt her concerns to be insincere and the photo ops opportunistic. Julian Brave Noisecat, Harper's magazine, "Perhaps the World Ends Here," 5 Dec. 2019

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

Time Traveler for opportunistic

Time Traveler

The first known use of opportunistic was in 1892

See more words from the same year

Statistics for opportunistic

Last Updated

7 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Opportunistic.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/opportunistic. Accessed 18 January 2020.

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

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).


experienced by way of someone else

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Eponym Quiz

  • rubens painting
  • Which is the best synonym of bowdlerize?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

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!