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[op-tuh-muh l] /ˈɒp tə məl/
optimum (def 3).
1885-90; optim(um) + -al1
Related forms
optimally, adverb
superoptimal, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for optimal
  • Wednesdays might be optimal because the middle of the week is a good time for a change of pace.
  • In other words, the optimal value is probably somewhere in the middle.
  • The value has to be based on the unique qualities of the invention and an optimal way of selling it.
  • In response many universities have squeezed operational and human resources to the point of optimal efficiency.
  • But the optimal number of postal carriers with bachelor's degrees surely isn't zero.
  • These involve the balance of the cohort, including the optimal representation of multiple disciplines and departments.
  • Not optimal by any means but sufficient to gain both tenure and a family.
  • To get the correct amount of fuel at the optimal time, stick to these strategies.
  • Program managers, for example, work to keep individual populations at the optimal size for a given area of habitat.
  • Tankless water heaters are optimal for energy savings.
British Dictionary definitions for optimal


another word for optimum (sense 2)
Derived Forms
optimality, noun
optimally, adverb
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
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Word Origin and History for optimal

"most favorable," 1890, from Latin optimus (see optimum). Originally a word in biology. Related: Optimally.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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optimal in Technology

1. Describes a solution to a problem which minimises some cost function. Linear programming is one technique used to discover the optimal solution to certain problems.
2. Of code: best or most efficient in time, space or code size.
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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