From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Optimism \Op"ti*mism\, n. [L. optimus the best; akin to optio
   choice: cf. F. optimisme. See Option.]
   [1913 Webster]
   1. (Metaph.) The opinion or doctrine that everything in
      nature, being the work of God, is ordered for the best, or
      that the ordering of things in the universe is such as to
      produce the highest good.
      [1913 Webster]

   2. A habitual tendency or a present disposition to take the
      most hopeful view of future events, and to expect a
      favorable outcome even when unfavorable outcomes are
      possible; -- opposed to pessimism.
      [1913 Webster +PJC]
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