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optimum

[op-tuh-muh m] /ˈɒp tə məm/
noun, plural optima
[op-tuh-muh] /ˈɒp tə mə/ (Show IPA),
optimums.
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.
adjective
3.
most favorable or desirable; best:
optimum conditions.
Origin
1875-1880
1875-80; < Latin: noun use of neuter of optimus best, suppletive superlative of bonus good
Synonyms
3. ideal, perfect, optimal.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for optima

optimum

/ˈɒptɪməm/
noun (pl) -ma (-mə), -mums
1.
a condition, degree, amount or compromise that produces the best possible result
adjective
2.
most favourable or advantageous; best optimum conditions
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
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Word Origin and History for optima

optimum

n.

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
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