a disposition or tendency to look on the more favorable side of events or conditions and to expect the most favorable outcome.
the belief that good ultimately predominates over evil in the world.
the belief that goodness pervades reality.
the doctrine that the existing world is the best of all possible worlds.
Contemporary Examples

Let Jupiter in Taurus fuel your optimism, in every sense of the word: Keep a positive attitude and be abundance conscious.
What the Stars Predict for Your Week Starsky + Cox August 19, 2011

I appreciate the optimism of the show, but it has a way to go before it finds itself.
Fall-Winter TV Preview: Snap Judgments of 2013–14’s New Shows Jace Lacob, Kevin Fallon July 15, 2013

We need to blend inspiration and discipline, optimism and pragmatism, just as Walt did a half century ago.
The Disney Fix for the Economy John Kao August 23, 2010

To explain his optimism, he lights up another of his hand-rolled cigarettes and cites an Arabic proverb.
Why I Fled Syria’s Army Babak Dehghanpisheh August 1, 2011

The optimism across the hemisphere was obvious, but many challenges remain.
Venezuela Says Goodbye to Its Lil Friend, While the Rest of the Continent Cheers Catalina Lobo-Guererro December 19, 2014

Historical Examples

According to the form of belief desired, it is called vanity, optimism, or religion.
The Analysis of Mind Bertrand Russell

This optimism procured for Mr Verloc his fourth surprise of the day.
The Secret Agent Joseph Conrad

Yet on one side he maintained that his own pessimism was more truly Christian than their optimism.
Schopenhauer Thomas Whittaker

He was reposing in that pathetic condition of optimism induced by excess of fatigue.
The Secret Agent Joseph Conrad

Is there more ground for the philosophy of optimism than for the philosophy of pessimism?
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Debate Index Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

the tendency to expect the best and see the best in all things
hopefulness; confidence
the doctrine of the ultimate triumph of good over evil
the philosophical doctrine that this is the best of all possible worlds

1759 (in translations of Voltaire), from French optimisme (1737), from Modern Latin optimum, used by Gottfried Leibniz (in “Théodicée,” 1710) to mean “the greatest good,” from Latin optimus “the best” (see optimum). The doctrine holds that the actual world is the “best of all possible worlds,” in which the creator accomplishes the most good at the cost of the least evil.

En termes de l’art, il l’appelle la raison du meilleur ou plus savamment encore, et Theologiquement autant que Géométriquement, le systême de l’Optimum, ou l’Optimisme. [Mémoires de Trévoux, Feb. 1737]

Launched out of philosophical jargon and into currency by Voltaire’s satire on it in “Candide.” General sense of “belief that good ultimately will prevail in the world” first attested 1841 in Emerson; meaning “tendency to take a hopeful view of things” first recorded 1819 in Shelley.

What a programmer is full of after fixing the last bug and just before actually discovering the *next* last bug. Fred Brooks’s book “The Mythical Man-Month” contains the following paragraph that describes this extremely well.
All programmers are optimists. Perhaps this modern sorcery especially attracts those who believe in happy endings and fairy god-mothers. Perhaps the hundreds of nitty frustrations drive away all but those who habitually focus on the end goal. Perhaps it is merely that computers are young, programmers are younger, and the young are always optimists. But however the selection process works, the result is indisputable: “This time it will surely run,” or “I just found the last bug.”.
See also Lubarsky’s Law of Cybernetic Entomology.
[Jargon File]


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