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 Like many who start businesses, Means Cameron is an optimist. Justin Baer And Eric Morath, WSJ, "Inside an American Comeback: ‘I Just Have to Keep Myself Going’," 18 Oct. 2020 An optimist’s view will be that that group will just begin its quick ascent up the farm system next year. Jon Meoli, baltimoresun.com, "Breaking down the five types of prospects the Orioles invited to their fall instructional camp," 6 Oct. 2020 The human weakness causing me, a lifelong optimist, to despair is our universal desire to see ratified our own opinions and biases. Jack Davies, Star Tribune, "Can democracy survive the internet?," 25 Sep. 2020 Whelan’s lawyers and siblings describe him as a stoic optimist, with a certainty that, sooner or later, his ordeal will end. Joshua Yaffa, The New Yorker, "The American Prisoner in Russia Trapped Between Putin and Trump," 4 Sep. 2020 Those who know her well describe her as an optimist, as someone who spends her days trying to lift up people around her and remains buoyant despite carrying a weight of worries that would drown others. Washington Post, "Ivanka Trump shared a video of her meeting a homeless D.C. woman. That woman says she’s still waiting for her to keep a promise.," 27 Aug. 2020 Pence has repeatedly played the role of party optimist and Trump cheerleader at the RNC. Ginger Rough, The Indianapolis Star, "Mike Pence formally accepts VP nomination; takes stage on Day 3 of GOP convention," 27 Aug. 2020 Ever the optimist, Dr. Doug Aukerman hopes that is the case. oregonlive, "Oregon State doctors hopeful mental health is on a par with physical health for athletes coming out of pandemic," 26 Aug. 2020 Was Johnson, part libertarian, part optimist, simply too instinctively skeptical of dranonican limits on individual freedom to impose them? Tom Mctague, The Atlantic, "How The Pandemic Revealed Britain’s National Illness," 12 Aug. 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

27 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Optimist.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/optimist. Accessed 28 Oct. 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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