noun, plural op·ti·ma [op-tuh-muh] /ˈɒp tə mə/, op·ti·mums.
- 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.
noun plural -ma (-mə) or -mums
- a condition, degree, amount or compromise that produces the best possible result
- most favourable or advantageous; bestoptimum conditions
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.