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

With new manager Graham Potter at the helm, there is a sense of optimism about the Seagulls' chances of staying up this year. SI.com, "4 Brighton Youngsters Who Have Impressed During the Seagulls' Pre-Season Friendlies," 3 Aug. 2019 There is no shortage of optimism about AI in the medical community. Jeremy Hsu, Quartz, "Artificial intelligence could globally revolutionize health care—unless it destroys it," 2 Aug. 2019 Whenever Chinese, American or other foreign delegations meet, if the two sides are sitting at a long table that allows for substantive, clause-by-clause negotiations, flickers of optimism may be justified. The Economist, "Why Chinese officials like useless meetings in over-stuffed chairs," 1 Aug. 2019 That undercurrent of optimism is an important part of why so many return every fall no matter how miserable their team performed. Shawn Windsor, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Lions' thin training camp crowds sends a message: Time to win," 31 July 2019 Funding for Alzheimer’s research has ballooned in recent years, from $400 million in 2013 to roughly $2 billion in 2018, boosting research and adding to the field’s sense of optimism. Karen Weintraub, Scientific American, "Alzheimer’s Meeting: Lifestyle Factors Are the Best—and Only—Bet Now for Reducing Dementia Risk," 18 July 2019 While Fast Retailing’s prospects in China and Southeast Asia look promising, the stock has already priced in a lot of optimism. Jacky Wong, WSJ, "Fast Times at Uniqlo’s Owner Could Continue," 11 July 2019 What struck me that night, though, was the sense of optimism: The collective glimpse of another possible political order in Mexico, one not characterized by corruption, impunity, and violence. Madeleine Wattenbarger, The New Republic, "Did the Mexican People Really Win?," 5 July 2019 Bring this book on your next beach trip, and sink into a story that’ll leave you with a spirit of optimism. Sarah Cook, al.com, "Birmingham magazine’s culture picks for June," 28 June 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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Dictionary Entries near optimism








Statistics for optimism

Last Updated

10 Aug 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).


a period when something is suspended

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