Meaning of “suboptimal” [closed]

I find myself using the word suboptimal quite a lot. In my understanding it is an understatement in itself, as suboptimal is not optimal at all and the subject needs drastic improvements.

  1. Is this assumption correct?
  2. Is this term feasible for a semi-academic paper?
  3. Can it also be applied to other adjectives like sub-logical?
  4. Is sub-optimal also correct?


I had the same question and problems looking up meanings in dictionaries 🙂

Because of its ambiguous, often ironic meaning, i wouldnt recommend to use it in academic papers, you should prefer exact terms here imo. Someone not used to latin terms and special connotations of it in his native language might misunderstand you.

Concerning simchona answer: it is widely used, yes, but more directly next and together with optimal, then its literal meaning is clear contrary to ironic usage in spoken language.

30000 vs 35000 hits

I still wouldnt recommend to use suboptimal alone implying a absolute meaning (rather than a relative meaning together with optimal) e.g. in this way.

My measurement results were suboptimal.

This is more a ambiguous euphemism than a exact summary.

Source : Link , Question Author : dr jerry , Answer Author : Community

Leave a Comment