op·​ti·​mal | \ˈäp-tə-məl \

Definition of optimal 

: most desirable or satisfactory : optimum the optimal use of class time the optimal dosage of medication for a patient conditions for optimal development

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Other Words from optimal

optimality \ˌäp-​tə-​ˈma-​lə-​tē \ noun
optimally \ˈäp-​tə-​mə-​lē \ adverb

Examples of optimal in a Sentence

He keeps his engine tuned for optimal performance. Under optimal conditions, these plants grow quite tall.

Recent Examples on the Web

Because coffee traditionally grows best in climates along the equator, Hawaii's weather is optimal for harvesting beans. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "21 Surprising Coffee Facts That Will Perk Up Your Afternoon," 3 Dec. 2018 But since the consumers of meat and gasoline do not pay a price that is commensurate to those harms, humanity overconsumes both meat and gasoline relative to what would be socially optimal. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "The best thing you can do to stop climate change is to vote against Republicans," 27 Nov. 2018 The home measures 5,135 square feet in total over three levels, with east-facing and clerestory windows that capture optimal light. Megan Barber, Curbed, "Hillside modern marvel with pool and views asks $4.9M," 24 Oct. 2018 The game was initially scheduled for this Saturday, but moved to Monday back in May due to fears a Friday concert by Jay-Z and Beyonce would leave field conditions sub-optimal. Geoff Baker, The Seattle Times, "Victor Rodriguez back starting — for now — just when the Sounders need him most," 1 Oct. 2018 An optimal site receives six to eight hours of direct light. The Editors, Good Housekeeping, "How to Grow the Most Gorgeous Chrysanthemums This Fall," 9 Aug. 2018 The optimal pH level for water is 7 to 8.0, and has a high bicarbonate count. Clay Skipper, GQ, "The Trainer to LeBron James and Victor Oladipo Shares the Recovery Secrets of NBA Stars," 31 May 2018 The government’s response has been sub-optimal, said Halakhe, the expert in countering extremism. Washington Post, "Teachers flee, schools close in Kenya with al-Shabab attacks," 5 May 2018 There were passes to all regions of the field, heart-stopping runs and a quarterback performing at an optimal level. Rainer Sabin, AL.com, "Has Tua Tagovailoa's injury stunted the growth of Alabama's offense?," 20 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'optimal.' 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 optimal

1890, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for optimal

optim(um) + -al entry 1

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Statistics for optimal

Last Updated

13 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for optimal

The first known use of optimal was in 1890

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More Definitions for optimal



English Language Learners Definition of optimal

: best or most effective


op·​ti·​mal | \ˈäp-tə-məl \

Medical Definition of optimal 

: most desirable or satisfactory : optimum optimal concentrations of a drug

Other Words from optimal

optimality \ˌäp-​tə-​ˈmal-​ət-​ē \ noun plural -ties
optimally \-​mə-​lē \ adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on optimal

Spanish Central: Translation of optimal

Nglish: Translation of optimal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of optimal for Arabic Speakers

Comments on optimal

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a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

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