1. A tendency to expect the best possible outcome or dwell on the most hopeful aspects of a situation.
a. The doctrine, asserted by Leibniz, that this world is the best of all possible worlds.
b. The belief that the universe is improving and that good will ultimately triumph over evil.
[French optimisme, from New Latin optimum, the greatest good; see OPTIMUM.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.