Definition of optimate in English:



  • 1A member of the patrician order in ancient Rome.

    ‘he privately urged Cicero to determined action on behalf of the optimates’
    • ‘Hostile optimate senators and personal enemies were quick to take advantage of the situation to bring down populares like Saturninus and Glaucia.’
    • ‘As important as Africanus or Caesar in the history of the Republic, Sulla was a touchstone both for the popular and the optimate party.’
    • ‘Rome had already adopted the system of governing her Italian allies through the influence of the Optimates.’
    • ‘He could not force through his two demands in the face of stubborn opposition by the Optimates.’
    • ‘Augustus was neither an optimate nor a popularis; he was both, or rather, could be either one as the situation required.’
    • ‘The death of Pompey signalled the end of the optimate cause, and the beginning of Caesar's supremacy.’
    1. 1.1A noble or aristocrat.
      • ‘It is impossible, that the People, as one Body Politick, should covenant with the Aristocracy or Optimates.’
      • ‘He practiced law at Florence and observed with optimate disapproval the increasing disinclination of Giuliano and Lorenzo to share power with anyone but their intimates.’
      • ‘The sovereign body empowered kings, princes and optimates and could remove them.’
      • ‘As Nietzsche said they would, the plebs have got steadily Denser, the optimates Quicker still on the uptake.’


Late 16th century: from Latin plural optimates aristocrats, noun use of optimas aristocratic, from optimus best.