op·​ti·​mism | \ˈäp-tə-ˌmi-zəm \

Definition of optimism 

1 : a doctrine that this world is the best possible world

2 : an inclination to put the most favorable construction upon actions and events or to anticipate the best possible outcome expressed optimism about the future of the business the optimism of cheerleaders

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Synonyms & Antonyms for optimism


bullishness, sanguinity


bearishness, pessimism

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Examples of optimism in a Sentence

Both of them expressed optimism about the future of the town. The early sales reports are cause for optimism. There is growing optimism that the problem can be corrected. He maintains a sense of optimism, despite all that has happened.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Their workers also seemed to mirror the CEO’s optimism by holding higher proportions of company stock in their own retirement portfolios. Sam Walker, WSJ, "Goodbye Swaggering CEOs; Hello Mr. Rogers," 3 Nov. 2018 There is no such optimism for Francis' Sept. 22-25 visit. Fox News, "Russia looms in background as pope travels to Baltics," 21 Sep. 2018 Markey’s optimism, however, could be premature—the rules aren’t slated to take effect until 2020, giving corporate lobbyists plenty of time to wage aggressive campaigns to water them down. Maya Kosoff, The Hive, "America Just Took a Step Toward Adopting Europe’s Strict Internet Privacy Laws," 29 June 2018 Findings from the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement underscore Danser’s optimism. Mark Davis, ajc, "Personal Journeys: A class by herself," 8 June 2018 Tesla’s rise is due in good part to Musk’s optimism. Kevin Kelleher, Fortune, "6 Things We Just Learned from Tesla's Shareholder Meeting," 6 June 2018 Still, the doctor’s optimism allowed Lee to minimize the impact of the news. Nancy Kruh, PEOPLE.com, "Jackie Lee Reveals He's Just Fought Testicular Cancer Twice: Watch the Emotional Video Inspired by His Experience," 21 May 2018 Another source of optimism is the power of the brain to adapt to new signaling inputs. Justin Chen, STAT, "Pulses of light restored hearing in gerbils. Could that lead to higher-tech cochlear implants?," 11 July 2018 All startup founders operate from a foundation of optimism—they’re going to change the world. Arielle Pardes, WIRED, "The Transformative Power of Reddit's Alien Mascot," 6 July 2018

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

1759, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for optimism

borrowed from French optimisme, from Latin optimum "the best, optimum" + French -isme -ism

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Dictionary Entries near optimism








Statistics for optimism

Last Updated

16 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for optimism

The first known use of optimism was in 1759

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More Definitions for optimism



English Language Learners Definition of optimism

: a feeling or belief that good things will happen in the future : a feeling or belief that what you hope for will happen


op·​ti·​mism | \ˈäp-tə-ˌmi-zəm \

Kids Definition of optimism

: a feeling or belief that good things will happen


op·​ti·​mism | \ˈäp-tə-ˌmiz-əm \

Medical Definition of optimism 

: an inclination to put the most favorable construction upon actions and events or to anticipate the best possible outcome

Other Words from optimism

optimist \ -​məst \ noun
optimistic \ ˌäp-​tə-​ˈmis-​tik \ adjective

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Comments on optimism

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


noxious or harmful

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