- a disposition or tendency to look on the more favorable side of events or conditions and to expect the most favorable outcome.
- the belief that good ultimately predominates over evil in the world.
- the belief that goodness pervades reality.
- the doctrine that the existing world is the best of all possible worlds.
Origin of optimism
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for optimism
Whatever the future holds for Africa, optimism certainly abounds.Silicon Valley Sets Its Sights on Africa
December 22, 2014
The optimism across the hemisphere was obvious, but many challenges remain.Venezuela Says Goodbye to Its Lil Friend, While the Rest of the Continent Cheers
December 20, 2014
And one has to fight against that and create some haven for optimism.The Gospel According to Nick Denton—What Next For The Gawker Founder?
December 14, 2014
Miraculously, Malala survived, and her courage, wisdom, and optimism have continued to transfix and inspire the world.Promoting Girls’ Education Isn’t Enough: Malala Can Do More
December 9, 2014
But the president also stressed the importance of hope and optimism.Obama: Lamest Duck Ever?
November 6, 2014
Meantime the stronghold of Mauburn's optimism was being desperately stormed.The Spenders
Harry Leon Wilson
This optimism procured for Mr Verloc his fourth surprise of the day.
He was reposing in that pathetic condition of optimism induced by excess of fatigue.
But his confidence was shaken, that was plain, and his optimism assumed.Thankful's Inheritance
Joseph C. Lincoln
Her optimism was the best sort of bracer for the captain's failing courage.Cy Whittaker's Place
Joseph C. Lincoln
- the tendency to expect the best and see the best in all things
- hopefulness; confidence
- the doctrine of the ultimate triumph of good over evil
- the philosophical doctrine that this is the best of all possible worlds
Word Origin and History for optimism
1759 (in translations of Voltaire), from French optimisme (1737), from Modern Latin optimum, used by Gottfried Leibniz (in "Théodicée," 1710) to mean "the greatest good," from Latin optimus "the best" (see optimum). The doctrine holds that the actual world is the "best of all possible worlds," in which the creator accomplishes the most good at the cost of the least evil.
En termes de l'art, il l'appelle la raison du meilleur ou plus savamment encore, et Theologiquement autant que Géométriquement, le systême de l'Optimum, ou l'Optimisme. [Mémoires de Trévoux, Feb. 1737]
Launched out of philosophical jargon and into currency by Voltaire's satire on it in "Candide." General sense of "belief that good ultimately will prevail in the world" first attested 1841 in Emerson; meaning "tendency to take a hopeful view of things" first recorded 1819 in Shelley.