noun (1)
op·​ti·​mist | \ ˈäp-tə-mist \

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 \

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

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 At the start of 2018 the optimists had the better case. The Economist, "Even stockmarket bulls are more cautious than at the start of the year," 12 July 2018 Yet Drescher, an eternal optimist, claims this dark period only made her stronger, and a symbol of hope for other women. Samantha Leach, Glamour, "Fran Drescher Was Always Ahead of Her Time," 30 Aug. 2018 The level of competition on defense, which head coach Pete Carroll, the eternal optimist, has trumpeted. Andy Benoit, SI.com, "NFC West Offseason Report Cards: Cardinals Blitzing, Rams Spend on Defense, Garoppolo Ready to Execute, Seahawks Rebuilding," 28 June 2018 But that bill’s future isn’t as certain as some optimists think. Philip Elliott, Time, "Republicans in Congress Search for an Immigration Bill to End Border Crisis," 20 June 2018 David Weinberger The net is certainly more open to systematic and systemic attack than some early web optimists like me thought. Dylan Matthews, Vox, "The internet was supposed to save democracy. I asked 4 tech optimists what went wrong.," 8 June 2018 Carter, ever the optimist, continued trying to convince adoring GTR fans that everything was on the up-and-up nearly six months after raising $73,000. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "How a CEO fiddled while beloved board game Glory to Rome crashed and burned," 8 Sep. 2018 But several black swans are gathering that might trip up the optimists. Jon Talton, The Seattle Times, "Turkey’s trouble is only the tip of a spear aimed at the economy," 14 Aug. 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.

See More

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)

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about optimist

Statistics for optimist

Last Updated

13 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for optimist

The first known use of optimist was in 1759

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for optimist


op·​ti·​mist | \ ˈäp-tə-məst\

Kids Definition of optimist

: a person who habitually expects good things to happen

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on optimist

What made you want to look up optimist? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


important, real, or meaningful

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!