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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for optimism


bullishness, sanguinity


bearishness, pessimism

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Part of the drop-off in optimism reflects growing worries about what Trump’s get-tough approach on trade might do to U.S. growth prospects. Martin Crutsinger, The Seattle Times, "Business economists worry about possible recession in 2020," 3 June 2018 Indeed, many Republicans have expressed optimism about the administration’s trade policies. Andrew Duehren, WSJ, "Some GOP Lawmakers Seek to Rein In Trump on Trade," 13 July 2018 Luna expressed optimism that the governments in both countries would continue to work together, despite present challenges. Rafael Carranza, azcentral, "Under new president, Mexico's cooperation on immigration and security could be at risk," 8 July 2018 Several trustees also expressed optimism that the Legislative Budget Board's performance review will provide recommendations for eliminating inefficiencies. Jacob Carpenter, Houston Chronicle, "Houston ISD trustees unanimously approve $2B budget on second try," 25 June 2018 Why this time could be different: Democrats are moving left on immigration The case for optimism runs through public opinion — especially among Democrats. Dylan Matthews, Vox, "Dems are unified on immigration now. Will they still be when Trump is gone?," 20 June 2018 In response to the rally, Denham released a statement to The Washington Post expressing optimism that the Republican House bill would end the practice. Michael Scherer, Anchorage Daily News, "Trump claims policy of separating families offers him leverage in immigration talks," 16 June 2018 But there is, unquestionably, more justification for optimism about Luck than at any time in the past 18 months. Stephen Holder, Indianapolis Star, "Insider: What we learned about the Colts this offseason," 16 June 2018 The science is more complicated, says Todd Farchione, PhD, clinical psychologist at the Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders of Boston University—but there’s reason for optimism. Alex Van Buren, Health.com, "3 Ways Cooking Might Help Ease Your Anxiety," 15 June 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about optimism

Dictionary Entries near optimism








Statistics for optimism

Last Updated

7 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for optimism

The first known use of optimism was in 1759

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


alleviating pain or harshness

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

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!