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

Optimism is the quality of being disposed in all circumstances to hope for the best. The edge of the meaning of optimistic is being blunted by its being habitually used for sanguine, hopeful, and cheerful, when what is referred to is not a habit of mind, but an attitude towards particular circumstances.

An example of its unsuitable use is "I will submit your application to the Board, but I am not optimistic about the result".

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