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[op-tuh-muh m] /ˈɒp tə məm/
noun, plural optima
[op-tuh-muh] /ˈɒp tə mə/ (Show IPA),
the best or most favorable point, degree, amount, etc., as of temperature, light, and moisture for the growth or reproduction of an organism.
the greatest degree or best result obtained or obtainable under specific conditions.
most favorable or desirable; best:
optimum conditions.
Origin of optimum
1875-80; < Latin: noun use of neuter of optimus best, suppletive superlative of bonus good
3. ideal, perfect, optimal. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for optima
Historical Examples
  • There is an optima distance for the realisation of this effluvium.

  • "These at least are not visits in optima forma," thought Constance to herself.

    Small Souls Louis Couperus
  • There is still another great danger which one may beware of, optima fide,—the danger of knowing something untrue.

    Criminal Psychology Hans Gross
  • First, if mans beatitude is action, it ought to be the mans best (optima) action.

  • optima et infallibilis ad gratiam prparatio et unice dispositio, est terna Dei electio et prdestinatio.

  • Having with some difficulty gained admittance, optima rushed into my arms, and wept upon my breast.

    Lady Eureka, v. 1 (of 3) Robert Folkestone Williams
  • I made a snatch at what I thought was the sinking form of optima, but soon I found out the dreadful mistake.

    Lady Eureka, v. 1 (of 3) Robert Folkestone Williams
  • La Illma Madama Lucrezia porta tutte le bolle piene et in optima forma.

    Lucretia Borgia Ferdinand Gregorovius
  • In reality, the best course is suggested by a famous maxim: "optima medicina est medicina non uti."

    Our Stage and Its Critics "E.F.S." of "The Westminster Gazette"
British Dictionary definitions for optima


noun (pl) -ma (-mə), -mums
a condition, degree, amount or compromise that produces the best possible result
most favourable or advantageous; best: optimum conditions
Word Origin
C19: from Latin: the best (thing), from optimus best; see optimism
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for optima



1879, from Latin optimum, neuter singular of optimus "best" (used as a superlative of bonus "good"), probably related to ops "power, resources" (in which case the evolution is from "richest" to "the most esteemed," thus from PIE root *op- "to work") or to ob "in front of," with superlative suffix *-tumos. Originally in biology, in reference to "conditions most favorable" (for growth, etc.). As an adjective from 1885.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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