op·​ti·​mal | \ ˈäp-tə-məl How to pronounce optimal (audio) \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from optimal

optimality \ ˌäp-​tə-​ˈma-​lə-​tē How to pronounce optimality (audio) \ noun
optimally \ ˈäp-​tə-​mə-​lē How to pronounce optimally (audio) \ 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 Due to retirements and promotions, these four new firefighters -- as well as two additional firefighters who will be hired in the near future -- will maintain our staffing at the optimal level. John Benson, cleveland, "Parma Heights swears in four new firefighters; two more expected this spring," 5 Feb. 2020 The entire operation must function at an optimal level by then. Rainer Sabin, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan football starting QB race among things to watch for 2020," 3 Jan. 2020 Due to its menu format, Hina operates solely on reservations, and every course is precisely synchronized so that each bite is delivered at optimal temperature. San Francisco Chronicle, "Soleil Ho | Hina Yakitori’s $110 tasting menu unleashes the power of poultry, and it's worth it," 29 Nov. 2019 As with many cartridges, hand loaders can boost the performance of the round, but optimal results are best achieved with 24-inch barrels. Mike Dickerson, Field & Stream, "10 Wildcat Calibers That Made the Grade," 22 Jan. 2020 With Heliogen, cameras atop the tower scan the sky, and image analysis software computes the optimal position for each mirror, which can rotate in increments smaller than 1/160 of a degree. Laura Mallonee, Wired, "Automated Solar Arrays Could Help Incinerate Global Warming," 21 Jan. 2020 When the vacuum senses a change in floor type, Dyson's DLS system automatically adjusts the suction power accordingly for optimal cleaning. Billy Cadden, Popular Science, "The best vacuums for any kind of mess," 16 Jan. 2020 The elegant and optimal solution is CrossFit—its workouts; its preferred diet of meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, and no sugar; and a commitment to unearthing the truth behind mainstream medicine and health research. Tessa Love, Outside Online, "Greg Glassman’s Easy Health Care Fix: More CrossFit," 16 Jan. 2020 But these after-the-fact approaches are, by nature, sub-optimal. Eleanor Cummins, The New Republic, "Fast Furniture Is an Environmental Fiasco," 14 Jan. 2020

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.

See More

First Known Use of optimal

1890, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for optimal

optim(um) + -al entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about optimal

Time Traveler for optimal

Time Traveler

The first known use of optimal was in 1890

See more words from the same year

Statistics for optimal

Last Updated

8 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Optimal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/optimal. Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for optimal


How to pronounce optimal (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of optimal

formal : best or most effective


op·​ti·​mal | \ ˈäp-tə-məl How to pronounce optimal (audio) \

Medical Definition of optimal

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

Other Words from optimal

optimality \ ˌäp-​tə-​ˈmal-​ət-​ē How to pronounce optimality (audio) \ noun, plural optimalities
optimally \ -​mə-​lē How to pronounce optimally (audio) \ adverb

Keep scrolling for more

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

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


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
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!