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optimum vs. optimal

optimum vs. optimal: What's the difference?

Optimum and optimal are synonyms when they function as adjectives meaning “best,” as in We created it under optimal/optimum conditions. Less frequently, optimum can function as a noun, as in This machine has reached its optimum, while optimal only ever functions as an adjective.

[ op-tuh-muhm ]
    [ op-tuh-muhl ]
    1. optimum (def. 3).

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