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[op-tuh-muh m] /ˈɒp tə məm/
noun, plural optima
[op-tuh-muh] /ˈɒp tə mə/ (Show IPA),
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.
Origin of optimum
1875-80; < Latin: noun use of neuter of optimus best, suppletive superlative of bonus good
3. ideal, perfect, optimal. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for optimum
  • Any advice for optimum seats would be greatly appreciated.
  • It's also ideal for shortening your earphones to optimum length.
  • Considerable care is also generally taken to keep conditions as close as practical to optimum for the treatment under evaluation.
  • One optimum application for concentrating solar energy is to cool.
  • The search for the optimum equilibrium has to be a never-ending process of trial and error.
  • For example, it would be great to be able to eat what you want when you want and stay at your optimum weight.
  • And whenever the sun's brightness changes because of cloud cover or the time of day, the inverter needs to find the new optimum.
  • The optimum policy will make the best use of those investments rather than ignoring them.
  • Go ahead and look up what the optimum temperature is for a good rice harvest is, for example.
  • In fact, a large economy is unlikely ever to be a perfect optimum currency area.
British Dictionary definitions for optimum


noun (pl) -ma (-mə), -mums
a condition, degree, amount or compromise that produces the best possible result
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
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for optimum

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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