Definition of forlorn in English:

forlorn

Line breaks: for|lorn
Pronunciation: /fəˈlɔːn
 
/

adjective

1Pitifully sad and abandoned or lonely: forlorn figures at bus stops
More example sentences
  • A pathetically forlorn figure, he set out to destroy all traces of the religion of his ancestors.
  • Friends tell me Paul has been seen walking his dog around the Heath, looking rather forlorn and lonely.
  • This is the tale of a lonely and forlorn Scotsman, who somehow managed to get himself separated from his drinking companions, and lost in a strange city.
Synonyms
2(Of an aim or endeavour) unlikely to succeed or be fulfilled: a forlorn attempt to escape
More example sentences
  • The bikers have started burning them down at night in a forlorn attempt to hold back the waves of progress that Phoenix is attracting with its golf courses.
  • Archaeologists think it may have been built in a forlorn attempt to stave off the effects of climate change 5,000 years ago.
  • Any such effort would be forlorn, for O'Neill is staying put in Britain.
Synonyms
hopeless, with no chance of success, beyond hope; useless, futile, pointless, purposeless, vain, unavailing, nugatory; unsuccessful, failed
archaic bootless

Origin

Old English forloren 'depraved, morally abandoned', past participle of forlēosan 'lose', of Germanic origin; related to Dutch verliezen and German verlieren, and ultimately to for- and lose. sense 1 dates from the 16th century.

Phrases

forlorn hope

A persistent or desperate hope that is unlikely to be fulfilled: he urged them to stay in the forlorn hope of restoring peace
[ mid 16th century: from Dutch verloren hoop 'lost troop', from verloren (past participle of verliezen 'lose') and hoop 'company'. The phrase originally denoted a band of soldiers picked to begin an attack, many of whom would not survive; the current sense (mid 17th century), derives from a misunderstanding of the etymology]
More example sentences
  • A forlorn hope, I know - but better than no hope at all.
  • They would be forced to start at the bottom and work their way back up, but at least derby matches would simply be a hope for the future rather than a forlorn hope.
  • But that now looks a forlorn hope as the player suffered a setback and is unlikely to get many, if any, competitive matches under his belt before the season ends.

Derivatives

forlornly

adverb
More example sentences
  • She had lost the final point of that service game in disarray, falling over in mid-rally and desperately, but forlornly, flailing at the ball to try to get it back.
  • She stared so boldly and so forlornly and so desperately that her heart could have done her talking for her.
  • To those who had watched forlornly as his political hopes ground to a halt in 1989, 1994 and 1998, it seemed he was tempting fate.

forlornness

Pronunciation: /fəˈlɔːnnɪs/
noun
More example sentences
  • Nor does it, as some supporters of the project insist, either convey unsettling, dizzy-making sensations, or employ milder, aesthetically educational means to let the forlornness of the victims be heard.
  • How unspeakable, then, it struck her, that worldly arrangements should contribute to the forlornness of one's natural state!
  • The repetition in lines two and four underscores the severity of the situation and the depth of the speaker's forlornness: She cannot simply relieve the pain that she feels through a pleasurable activity.

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