What Does Best-Case Scenario Mean?

Best Case Scenario Meaning

Definition: The best possible outcome.

This cliché refers to an outcome that people are most hoping for. It can be used to describe outcomes in short-term or long-term events.

If something is described as the best-case scenario, this means that it is what people want to happen and are working to achieve.

It can be compared to the worst-case scenario, which would be the worst possible outcome. Many times people will use both of these phrases together.

Origin of Best-Case Scenario

best case scenario analysisThere is no sure evidence of where the phrase best-case scenario originates.

The word scenario itself comes from the Latin word scena, which means scene. Therefore, a best-case scenario would be the best scene, or best thing that somebody could see happening in the future.

Examples of Best-Case Scenario

best case worst case scenario analysisPeople use best-case scenario to describe the preferred outcome of future events from their perspective.

Someone might say that the best-case scenario in an election is for the candidate they support to win. In this case, other people may have different best-case scenarios because they support different candidates.

People might also use best-case scenario to describe something that is preferable to its alternative, but it itself is not something they would want to happen.

For example, an athlete who is on a team that is already losing a game might say that the best-case scenario in the game is that they end the game with no injuries. In this case, even though the athlete would prefer to win, he knows that there may not be a chance of winning and the best outcome now would be for them to lose with no injured teammates.

More Examples

  • “A handful of Republican opinion leaders are probably already too committed to backtrack. That amounts to a best-case scenario for Trump in which he would run only some 2 to 4 percentage points behind where a generic Republican candidate would be.” –Chicago Tribune
  • “Mustering hope for a ‘best-case scenario’ in the face of countless unknowns, search crews braced for a seventh day and night at sea Thursday in the hunt for two teenagers missing from their capsized boat.” –Orange County Register


The phrase best-case scenario describes what somebody hopes will result from an event.