op·​ti·​mism | \ ˈäp-tə-ˌmi-zəm How to pronounce optimism (audio) \

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

Adding to the market’s optimism was new data showing a rebound in retail spending and continued strength in the U.S. labor... Michael Wursthorn, WSJ, "S&P 500 Finishes Higher as Industrial Stocks Rise," 18 Apr. 2019 That optimism has curdled, largely because of the side effects of success. Justin Davidson, Daily Intelligencer, "Downtown Nashville Is Supposed to Be the Model of the Walkable 21st-Century City. I’m Not So Sure.," 8 June 2018 Whether that optimism was well founded may not be known until early Wednesday, hours after the polls close, when the count from Villaraigosa’s base in Los Angeles County typically comes in. Joe Garofoli, San Francisco Chronicle, "Antonio Villaraigosa’s chance to be California governor hinges on Latino vote," 2 June 2018 Attempting parenting at all is an exercise in blind optimism. Laura Norkin, The Cut, "Will Money Stop Me From Having a Second Kid?," 11 May 2018 The Luskin study found that amid the many reasons for a decline in optimism among young Angelenos, and corresponding lower ratings on quality-of-life indexes, housing costs drove the most negative sentiment. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "The housing crisis isn’t just about affordability—it’s about economic mobility, too," 24 Apr. 2018 In Britain, more so than in other countries, stockpiling has become a new societal fault line between those in panic and those who have maintained some optimism. Rick Noack, The Seattle Times, "Switzerland wants to declare coffee nonessential for human survival," 12 Apr. 2019 LegitTayUpdates is a source of profoundly moving optimism. Vogue, "The Viral Taylor Swift Stan Story That Made Me Love the Internet Again," 5 Apr. 2019 Armie’s answer was not exactly optimism-inducing: Timmy’s out! Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "This Week in Timothée Chalamet, Week of March 22," 22 Mar. 2019

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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Statistics for optimism

Last Updated

18 May 2019

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 How to pronounce optimism (audio) \

Kids Definition of optimism

: a feeling or belief that good things will happen


op·​ti·​mism | \ ˈäp-tə-ˌmiz-əm How to pronounce optimism (audio) \

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 How to pronounce optimist (audio) \ noun
optimistic \ ˌäp-​tə-​ˈmis-​tik How to pronounce optimistic (audio) \ adjective

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More from Merriam-Webster on optimism

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with optimism

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for optimism

Spanish Central: Translation of optimism

Nglish: Translation of optimism for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of optimism for Arabic Speakers

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).


to speak slightingly about or to degrade

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