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

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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

Research shows that a simple average of GDP and GDI is a nearly optimal way to combine the two sets of information. Jason Furman, WSJ, "The Economy Is Growing Faster Than the Government Says," 9 July 2018 Anybody who makes it to the top of the coaching ranks is, by nature, someone who possesses a keen understanding of power structures and the optimal way to navigate them. David Murphy, Philly.com, "How LeBron James' decision may change Sixers' Star Hunt approach | David Murphy," 2 July 2018 Newsletter Sign-up The most sophisticated front offices that use complicated proprietary algorithms to allocate their mountains of cash have come to a surprising conclusion about optimal strategies. Andrew Beaton, WSJ, "The NBA and NFL Have Become Videogames," 6 Nov. 2018 The finding taps into important questions on why male parenting evolves in mammals: with limited time and resources, investing their effort in mating rather than parenting is an optimal strategy for males in a lot of different species. Cathleen O'grady, Ars Technica, "Gorillas that are great with kids are also luckier in love," 18 Oct. 2018 At least in Paracas society, the optimal strategy of civilization building involved creating widespread alliances early on and then expanding on this model over centuries. Charles Stanish, Smithsonian, "How Feasting Rituals Help Shape Human Civilization," 5 July 2018 This process ensures both optimal comfort and performance. Sienna Fantozzi, House Beautiful, "Everything You Need To Know About Scandia Down Comforters," 20 Nov. 2018 Premium cabins feature floor-to-ceiling sliding-glass windows, and French balconies for optimal views. Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best Cruise Lines in the World: 2018 Readers' Choice Awards," 9 Oct. 2018 This will ensure the best quality for your money, as well as optimal durability. Maria Cassano, Allure, "Why Linen Sheets Are Your Skin-Cooling Best Friend During a Heat Wave," 5 Sep. 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

8 Mar 2019

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

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 -ties
optimally \ -​mə-​lē How to pronounce optimally (audio) \ 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

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


to corrupt or become corrupted

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