Is "Opportunistic" Acquiring a Neutral Meaning?

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Jan 28 01:03:17 UTC 2004

At 3:34 PM -0600 1/27/04, James Parish wrote:
>Joyce, Thomas F. wrote:
>>  I had to explain to somebody that "opportunistic" connotes
>>  "unprincipled." He professed ignorance and said he was using the word to
>>  mean something like "seeking opportunities energetically," claiming that
>>  in certain commercial contexts he had encountered the word with that
>>  sense.  Am I out of touch with this change of meaning?
>I've heard it used with the latter meaning, referring to football teams,
>in the last couple of years.
Right, especially teams with an "opportunistic defense", e.g. both
Super Bowl squads.  Google gives 2,820 hits for "opportunistic
defense", and on the first page at least each involves reference to a
football team.


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