[ op-tuh-muhm ]
/ ˈɒp tə məm /

noun, plural op·ti·ma [op-tuh-muh] /ˈɒp tə mə/, op·ti·mums.

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.

Nearby words

  1. optimism,
  2. optimist,
  3. optimistic,
  4. optimization,
  5. optimize,
  6. optimum dose,
  7. optimum population,
  8. option,
  9. option money,
  10. optional

Origin of optimum

1875–80; < Latin: noun use of neuter of optimus best, suppletive superlative of bonus good

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for optima

British Dictionary definitions for optima


/ (ˈɒptɪməm) /

noun plural -ma (-mə) or -mums

a condition, degree, amount or compromise that produces the best possible result


most favourable or advantageous; bestoptimum conditions

Word Origin for optimum

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

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