op·​ti·​mi·​za·​tion ˌäp-tə-mə-ˈzā-shən How to pronounce optimization (audio)
: 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 The set-up wizard, settings and Notes application were reworked, and that Notes app was treated to performance and handwriting quality optimization as well. New Atlas, 12 July 2024 Lu has been working on performance optimization and race strategy design for elite swimmers and triathletes and has worked on analytics with AusCycling, the governing body for cycling in Australia, to help inform performance outcomes. Katherine Douglass, Scientific American, 8 July 2024 This approach facilitates deeper integration with product development teams, faster issue resolution, product improvement, and process optimization. Tyler Shepherd, USA TODAY, 5 June 2024 For fiscal 2025, FedEx expects revenue growth in the low-to-mid single-digit percent range, and diluted EPS between $18.25 to $20.25 on a non-GAAP basis after excluding costs related to business optimization initiatives and before certain retirement plan accounting adjustments. Vicki M. Young, Sourcing Journal, 26 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for optimization 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'optimization.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


optimize + -ation

First Known Use

1857, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of optimization was in 1857


Dictionary Entries Near optimization

Cite this Entry

“Optimization.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/optimization. Accessed 25 Jul. 2024.

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