op·​ti·​mi·​za·​tion | \ ˌäp-tə-mə-ˈzā-shən How to pronounce optimization (audio) \

Definition of optimization

: an act, process, or methodology of making something (such as a design, system, or decision) as fully perfect, functional, or effective as possible specifically : the mathematical procedures (such as finding the maximum of a function) involved in this

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Optimization started its gradual perfection in mid-19th-century English, when it was derived from optimize, a word first used in the early part of that same century with the meaning "to make the best or most of." In basic applications, optimization refers to the act or process of making something as good as it can be. In the 21st century, it has seen much use in technical contexts having to do with attaining the best possible functionality, as in "network optimization" and "search engine optimization" (SEO). Like the words optimum and optimism (which refer, respectively, to the amount or degree of something that is best or most effective, and to a feeling or belief that good things will happen in the future), optimize and optimization derive from Latin optimus, meaning "best."

Examples of optimization in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web This, coupled with Oppo’s battery optimization means the Find N is a phone that can easily go a full day on a single charge. Ben Sin, Forbes, 5 Jan. 2022 Mobile optimization of e-commerce sites, therefore, is an important investment. Aleksandr Galkin, Forbes, 28 Dec. 2021 Most relevant to this discussion, however, is how these optimization efforts were developed largely outside the scope of the individual employees included in the systems. Cal Newport, The New Yorker, 13 Sep. 2021 In looking to recapture market share, Weatherford is emphasizing its offerings in digital technologies, such as its oil-production optimization platform, called ForeSite, which Mr. Saligram said has been deployed at 400,000 wells world-wide. Collin Eaton, WSJ, 2 June 2021 And it’s not much better in a retail store, where optimization is focused on dollar per square foot instead of for the guest experience. Regan Stephens, Fortune, 24 Apr. 2021 Instead, they should be shared and only driven when needed — that’s global optimization that everybody benefits from: the customer, the city, and the environment. Christopher Elliott, Forbes, 12 Dec. 2021 And in an era that fetishizes minimalism, upcycling and constant self-optimization, the collector’s life is a reminder that there is, in fact, no moral imperative to the accrual or disavowal of objects. New York Times, 25 Nov. 2021 Snowboarder Shaun White recently invested in Shelf Engine, a company that uses computer optimization to reduce food waste by more efficiently stocking grocery stores with perishable goods. Mark Zeigler, San Diego Union-Tribune, 19 Oct. 2021

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

1857, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for optimization

optimize + -ation

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Time Traveler for optimization

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The first known use of optimization was in 1857

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Last Updated

15 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Optimization.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/optimization. Accessed 18 Jan. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on optimization

Britannica English: Translation of optimization for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about optimization


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