noun (1)
op·​ti·​mist | \ ˈäp-tə-mist How to pronounce optimist (audio) \

Definition of optimist

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a person who is inclined to be hopeful and to expect good outcomes : someone who is given to optimism The optimists have faith that no matter how avaricious the age, literature will endure.— Michael Norman


noun (2)
Op·​ti·​mist | \ ˈäp-tə-mist How to pronounce Optimist (audio) \

Definition of Optimist (Entry 2 of 2)

: a member of a major international service club

Examples of optimist in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun To an optimist, the numbers show it’s possible to reduce emissions. Josh Priti, Fortune, "Europe pushes for a green recovery as the Trump Administration weakens environmental protections," 22 May 2020 But figuring this out will not be as easy as some techno-optimists hope. David Shaywitz, National Review, "How Will Coronavirus Change the Health-Care Industry?," 1 Apr. 2020 Inside the Trump administration, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is the optimist. Greg Ip, WSJ, "U.S. Seeks to Reset Clock on China Engagement," 22 Jan. 2020 The optimists of that period, the quick fixers, destroyed trust and earned only contempt. Madeleine Kearns, National Review, "The Limits of Optimism," 27 Mar. 2020 Hunter calls herself an optimist and thinks new ownership will see the value of the newsroom’s efforts. Washington Post, "Is time running out for ambitious political journalism at the Des Moines Register? Not yet.," 30 Jan. 2020 Looking at her career so far, an optimist might think that the old model holds diminished sway. Gaby Wood, Vogue, "From Little Women to Marvel Superhero, Florence Pugh Is a New Kind of Breakout Star," 9 Jan. 2020 An optimist might perhaps see a minuscule flattening of the curve from around March 30, but this is only a week into the lockdown. Rupa Subramanya, Quartz India, "Data show India’s coronavirus lockdown may not be working," 13 Apr. 2020 Pandemic or not, Philip Galanes is in the end an optimist. CBS News, "Social Q's for the age of coronavirus," 5 Apr. 2020

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

Noun (1)

1759, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

1911, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for optimist

Noun (1)

optim(ism) + -ist entry 1, probably after French optimiste

Noun (2)

Optimist (Club)

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Time Traveler for optimist

Time Traveler

The first known use of optimist was in 1759

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Statistics for optimist

Last Updated

1 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Optimist.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/optimist. Accessed 1 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for optimist


How to pronounce Optimist (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of optimist

: a person who usually expects good things to happen


op·​ti·​mist | \ ˈäp-tə-məst \

Kids Definition of optimist

: a person who habitually expects good things to happen

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