[op-er-too-niz-uh m, -tyoo-]


the policy or practice, as in politics, business, or one's personal affairs, of adapting actions, decisions, etc., to expediency or effectiveness regardless of the sacrifice of ethical principles.
action or judgment in accordance with this policy.

Origin of opportunism

1865–70; < Italian opportunismo, equivalent to opportun(o) (< Latin opportūnus; see opportune) + -ismo -ism
Related formsop·por·tun·ist, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for opportunism

advantage, timeliness, exploitation, opportunity, expedience

Examples from the Web for opportunism

Contemporary Examples of opportunism

Historical Examples of opportunism

  • I have scorned this opportunism all my life, and now I regret having scorned it.

  • That there may be no opportunism every citizen must be alive to the morality of politics.

    Judges and Ruth

    Robert A. Watson

  • No member of my family would ever be guilty of opportunism, and remain in my family.


    Eleanor Price

  • For that is just what opportunism wants—to keep these two questions in abeyance.

    Anarchism and Socialism

    George Plechanoff

  • Is not this the opportunism of both a Browning and a Gladstone?

    Browning and His Century

    Helen Archibald Clarke

Word Origin and History for opportunism

"policy of adopting actions to circumstances while holding goals unchanged," 1870, from opportune + -ism. Cf. opportunist.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper