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noun, plural op·ti·ma [op-tuh-muh] /ˈɒp tə mə/, op·ti·mums.
  1. the best or most favorable point, degree, amount, etc., as of temperature, light, and moisture for the growth or reproduction of an organism.
  2. the greatest degree or best result obtained or obtainable under specific conditions.
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  1. most favorable or desirable; best: optimum conditions.
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Origin of optimum

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


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for optima

Historical Examples

  • There is an optima distance for the realisation of this effluvium.

    Metapsychical Phenomena

    J. Maxwell

  • "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.

  • 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.

British Dictionary definitions for optima


noun plural -ma (-mə) or -mums
  1. a condition, degree, amount or compromise that produces the best possible result
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  1. most favourable or advantageous; bestoptimum conditions
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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

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper