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

The coming year brings the cleanup and a return to the optimism that technology is really good for the world. David Pierce, WSJ, "Tech That Will Change Your Life in 2019," 30 Dec. 2018 But there’s still a potential for optimism that’s hard to find in other parts of the tech world. Adi Robertson, The Verge, "The Verge 2018 tech report card: AR and VR," 30 Dec. 2018 Automation is very good for growth and very bad for equality in all variants, including those reputed to be conducive to technological optimism. . . Kevin Lewis, BostonGlobe.com, "Dreading automation," 16 June 2018 Rea's Didi is lean, tall, and disposed to optimism, Monaghan's Gogo, short, stocky, and grim. Tony Adler, Chicago Reader, "After all these years, we’re still Waiting for Godot," 30 May 2018 But this time -- and for the first time in 40 years of combating Ebola -- global health experts have something akin to optimism. David Mckenzie, CNN, "Fear and failure: How Ebola sparked a global health revolution," 26 May 2018 Energy, too, is a special case, since spending tends to be influenced by the oil-price cycle, which has moved from despair in 2015 to optimism again this year and last. The Economist, "Business in the Republicans’ America is flourishing, but also changing," 24 May 2018 The mood in South Korea has changed dramatically in just a few months, from palpable fear of another Korean war to cautious optimism about making progress on the decades-long standoff on the peninsula. Anna Fifield, Washington Post, "South Korea says it will lay the groundwork for Trump to talk to Kim about nuclear weapons," 18 Apr. 2018 Despite my optimism for big changes to the series, developer DICE bluffed its hand. T.c. Sottek, The Verge, "Battlefield V’s single-player stories are the right way to do war games," 20 Nov. 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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Statistics for optimism

Last Updated

12 Jan 2019

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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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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).


tremendous in size, volume, or degree

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