optimum

noun op·ti·mum \ ˈäp-tə-məm \
Updated on: 11 Sep 2017

Definition of optimum

plural optima play \ˈäp-tə-mə\ also optimums
1 :the amount or degree of something that is most favorable to some end
  • The substances were mixed in various proportions until an optimum was reached.
; especially :the most favorable condition for the growth and reproduction of an organism
  • The soil condition for this crop is now at an optimum.
2 :greatest degree attained or attainable under implied or specified conditions
  • This agricultural pest reaches its optimum farther south.

optimum

adjective

Examples of optimum in a Sentence

  1. The substances were mixed in various proportions until an optimum was reached.

Recent Examples of optimum from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'optimum.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of optimum

borrowed from Latin, from neuter of optimus (earlier optumus) "best," probably originally "foremost, headmost," from ob "toward, in front of" + -tumus, -timus, superlative suffix (going back to Indo-European *-tm̥mos) — more at ob-
Note: Traditionally the initial element op- has been taken as the stem of op-, *ops "power, ability, wealth" (see opus), though superlative derivatives with -(t)imus are regularly formed from spatial prepositions (as extimus, intimus, postumus), not nouns. The inscriptional forms opitimus, opitumus probably contain an epenthetic vowel and hence would not be of etymological relevance.


OPTIMUM Defined for English Language Learners

optimum

noun

Definition of optimum for English Language Learners

  • : the amount or degree of something that is best or most effective


OPTIMUM Defined for Kids

optimum

adjective op·ti·mum \ ˈäp-tə-məm \

Definition of optimum for Students

:most desirable or satisfactory
  • The shuttle is launched only under optimum conditions.

Medical Dictionary

optimum

noun op·ti·mum \ ˈäp-tə-məm \

medical Definition of optimum

plural optima play \-mə\ also optimums
1 :the amount or degree of something that is most favorable to some end; especially :the most favorable condition for the growth and reproduction of an organism
2 :greatest degree attained or attainable under implied or specified conditions

optimum

adjective

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