Definition of forlorn in English:


Line breaks: for|lorn
Pronunciation: /fəˈlɔːn



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.



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.


Pronunciation: /fəˈlɔːnnɪs/
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.


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.

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