What Does Cautiously Optimistic Mean?

Cautiously Optimistic Meaning

Definition: Hopeful, yet at the same time wary.

Origin of Cautiously Optimistic

It is unclear exactly when and how it this expression first began. However, it began to become more popular around the year 1930.

The American president Ronald Reagan may have helped popularize this expression when he used it in the year 1982.

Examples of Cautiously Optimistic

definition of cautiously optimistic definition Here is an example in which two roommates are discussing a problem with a birthday party they are planning for their friend.

Mario: So, I don’t want you to panic, but there is a slight problem with the birthday party we are planning for Bobby.

Axel: What’s going on?

Mario: The event hall that we reserved just called me. They had a fire earlier today, so they have to cancel all their events for the next few months.

Axel: Oh no! The party is tomorrow. What are we going to do?

Mario: Don’t worry. I’m cautiously optimistic! I did a little research and found a few places that might be available tomorrow. I already left voicemails, and I’m just waiting to hear back.

Axel: Oh, thank goodness!

Mario: It’s possible that they will all be unavailable, but probably at least one will work.

Axel: That’s great. Since you brought it up, I have another problem to tell you about the party.

Mario: Oh no! What is it?

Axel: Well, I forgot to send out the invitations. But to borrow your expression, I too am cautiously optimistic! I sent texts to everybody, and most people can still make it.

Mario: Oh good. Hopefully nothing else goes wrong!

More Examples

cautiously optimistic meaning This excerpt is about the president of Russia discussing claims of meddling with the U.S. presidential election.

  • But Mr. Putin told Le Figaro this week that he was “cautiously optimistic” that Mr. Trump would be able to break free of people he described as intent on blocking his path toward better relations with Moscow. –New York Times

The second excerpt is about an athlete who injured his finger with blisters. He is hopeful that he has healed, but he is not confident.

  • Hill said he is cautiously optimistic his blister issues are behind him. –LA Times


The phrase cautiously optimistic is way to express that one believes something good will probably happen but lacks total confidence that it will definitely occur.