Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The point at which the condition, degree, or amount of something is the most favorable.
  • noun Biology The most favorable condition for growth and reproduction.
  • adjective Most favorable or advantageous; best.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In botany, one of the three cardinal points of temperature — namely that point at which the metabolic processes are carried on with the greatest activity.
  • noun The term is applicable not only to the factor of heat, but also to those of light, moisture, etc. The optimum for each several function must be distinguished from the total optimum for the plant, the most intense activity of a function often being injurious. According to Schimper, that condition which secures the highest intensity of a function is its absolute optimum; that which secures its most favorable activity is its harmonic optimum; and the harmonic optima together compose the œcological optimum for the plant.
  • Best; most desirable.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Best possible or most desirable; -- usually under a restriction expressed or implied.
  • noun The most favorable condition, greatest degree, or largest amount possible under given circumstances.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun The best or most favorable condition, or the greatest amount or degree possible under specific sets of comparable circumstances.
  • adjective best or most advantageous; surpassing all others

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun most favorable conditions or greatest degree or amount possible under given circumstances
  • adjective most desirable possible under a restriction expressed or implied

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Latin, neuter sing. of optimus, best; see op- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From New Latin, neuter of Latin optimus ("best, very good"), from root op in ops ("work"), omnis ("all").

Examples

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