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

Lovullo is an optimist at heart, and he's stuck with players sometimes in ways that defy logic. Katherine Fitzgerald, azcentral, "Arizona Diamondbacks stick with Greg Holland as closer despite rough outings in L.A.," 5 July 2019 Time’s optimists, by contrast, claim to base their sunnier outlook on precise quantification. Anthony Gottlieb, The New York Review of Books, "Accentuate the Positive," 7 Feb. 2019 Sooner or later, the long, hard hours in the studio had a way of turning even cockeyed optimists into pragmatists. Jed Perl, The New York Review of Books, "A Master of Mute Forms," 7 Mar. 2019 An optimist could say that eliminating third-party cookies may lighten webpage loads. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Google and Chrome pledge to crack down on snooping third-party web cookies," 7 May 2019 The optimist would point out that Kyrie Irving only played 303 minutes of his freshman year of college and blossomed into a star. Benjamin Hoffman, New York Times, "2018 N.B.A. Draft Results: Analysis of Every Pick in Round 1," 21 June 2018 What emerges instead is a portrait of an optimist with curiosity and affection for humanity in all its forms, as well as a ravenous appetite for the literary efforts of others. Tom Zoellner, New York Times, "Paul Theroux’s New Book Ranges From Literature to Landscapes, With Surprising Cheer," 1 June 2018 Photo: iStock/Getty Images Twenty eighteen will go down as the year when even optimists abandoned hope that China’s economic development and growing middle class would create pressure for political liberalization. William A. Galston, WSJ, "Democracy Could Bounce Back in 2019," 31 Dec. 2018 Best for: Your yoga buddies, your stressed-out best friend, optimists. Nora Krug, chicagotribune.com, "Looking for the perfect book? Here are nine subscription boxes that can help," 30 May 2018

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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Statistics for optimist

Last Updated

14 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for optimist

The first known use of optimist was in 1759

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More Definitions for optimist



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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More from Merriam-Webster on optimist

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for optimist

Spanish Central: Translation of optimist

Nglish: Translation of optimist for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of optimist for Arabic Speakers

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