From 'Vocabulary' part of The ABC Of Plain Words by Sir E Gowers (1951)

Do not use optimum merely as a showy synonym for best. It should only be used of the resultant of conflicting forces. The optimum speed of a motor car is not the fastest it is capable of, but that which reconciles in the most satisfactory way the conflicting desires of its owner to move quickly, to economise petrol, and to avoid needless wear and tear.

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