Definition of opportune in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈɒpətjuːn/
Pronunciation: /ˌɒpəˈtjuːn/


1(Of a time) especially convenient or appropriate for a particular action or event: he couldn’t have arrived at a less opportune moment
More example sentences
  • The three grants totalling US $7.3 million given to Zambia by Japan could not have come at a more opportune time.
  • Journalists alarmed by the directions of both the profession and journalism education said the initiative comes at an opportune time.
  • He also believed it was an opportune time to walk away.
1.1Done or occurring at a favourable time; well timed: the opportune use of humour to lower tension
More example sentences
  • This would facilitate the opportune identification of patients who would benefit from treatment.



Pronunciation: /ˈɒpətjuːnli/
Pronunciation: /ˌɒpəˈtjuːnli/
Example sentences
  • Mac's opportunely released their impressive Pilsner in their new bottles and we sampled beers from Wigram Brewing Company in Christchurch, who are newcomers to the scene.
  • In the evenings, the motor yacht is opportunely anchored for the sublime South Pacific sunsets, best viewed from the broad Sky Deck with a Fiji Bitter in one hand and a camera in the other.
  • We must step up our efforts to ensure that they are returned to Britain opportunely.


Pronunciation: /ˈɒpətjuːnnəs/
Pronunciation: /ˌɒpəˈtjuːnnəs/


Late Middle English: from Old French opportun(e), from Latin opportunus, from ob- 'in the direction of' + portus 'harbour', originally describing the wind driving towards the harbour, hence 'seasonable'.

  • Since medieval times we have used opportune of something that has happened at a good or convenient time. Originally, though, the word was associated with a much more specific meaning. It comes from Latin opportunus, from ob- ‘in the direction of’ and portus ‘harbour’, referring to the favourable wind which brought ships into the harbour. Opportunity (Late Middle English) comes from the same root. The phrase opportunity knocks is used to mean that a chance of success might happen, often with the implication that every person has a chance to succeed. It was the title of a hugely popular TV talent show broadcast from the late 1950s to 1978, with a revival in the late 1980s.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: op¦por|tune

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.