Definition of hope in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /həʊp/


[mass noun]
1A feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen: he looked through her belongings in the hope of coming across some information [count noun]: I had high hopes of making the Olympic team
More example sentences
  • Instead the two clubs can still dream of Cardiff, albeit in both cases more in hope than expectation.
  • This time there was hope and expectation, and a certain symbolism.
  • They now await their results in August and September in hope and expectation.
1.1 [count noun] A person or thing that may help or save someone: their only hope is surgery
More example sentences
  • The decision came as little surprise but washed away the last hopes of parents who have fought to save the popular schools.
  • This was one of the only hopes for this once majestic statue to be saved from the elements.
  • Most familiar with the problem believe the only hope for a reversal in the trend is education.
1.2Grounds for believing that something good may happen: he does see some hope for the future
More example sentences
  • Edwina Currie was moved by the response to the gathering, and believes it offers hope for the future.
  • No great surprises here either, but grounds for rational hope at the voting booth.
  • Regardless of what has gone before, I believe there is hope for a brighter and better future.
hopefulness, optimism, expectation, expectancy;
confidence, faith, trust, belief, conviction, assurance
2 archaic A feeling of trust: our private friendship, upon hope and affiance whereof, I presume to be your petitioner
More example sentences
  • Rather, Jesus is believed to be present in ways which allow him to be related to in faith, love, hope, joy, and obedience.
  • Paul portrays the community of the new age as a community of faith, hope, and love.
  • Jesus did not lose hope but trusted in God even when it appeared that he was in a hopeless situation.


[no object]
1Want something to happen or be the case: he’s hoping for an offer of compensation [with clause]: I hope that the kids are OK
More example sentences
  • They will be hoping for an easy draw in the next round so they can get the show back on the road.
  • He added that in the long term his group was hoping for an effective relief road for the town centre.
  • The greedy geese drove off the ducks and chased after pensioners, hoping for a feed.
expect, anticipate, look for, wait for, be hopeful of, pin one's hopes on, want;
wish for, dream of, hope against hope for
1.1 [with infinitive] Intend if possible to do something: we’re hoping to address all these issues
More example sentences
  • Plans have been drawn up and it is hoped to commence work in this area in the new year.
  • We have provided the Court with a schedule setting out the areas that we hope to address.
  • In later essays I hope to address some questions that arise because of this piece.
aim, intend, be looking, have the/every intention, have in mind, plan, aspire



hope against hope

Cling to a mere possibility: they were hoping against hope that he would find a way out
More example sentences
  • For hours he refused to sanction retaliation: he still hoped against hope that what was happening was a mere ‘provocation’.
  • We waited around, hoping against hope that Brutus might show.
  • And yet I'm powerless to do anything about it other than sit here and watch, hoping against hope that it'll get better before it gets worse.

hope for the best

Hope for a favourable outcome: I’ll just wait at home and hope for the best
More example sentences
  • We have been writing letters to local companies for sponsorship and just hoping for the best.
  • They talked with her father, Melvin, just moments ago, and he told me he is still hopeful though he admitted that with the search in the park today he is preparing for the worst but hoping for the best.
  • But right now, people here are hoping for the best, but realize that much of the small island could be under water by the time Hurricane Charley passes by Florida.

hope springs eternal (in the human breast)

proverb It is human nature always to find fresh cause for optimism.
Example sentences
  • But if ‘hope springs eternal in the human breast’, perhaps we can continue to look to the future when a change of fortune will surely lead to success.
  • Yet the birth of a new year is not the time for despondency, for hope springs eternal in the human breast.
  • But hope springs eternal, so that's no surprise.

in the hope of

With the expectation of and desire for: they are carrying out surveillance of the area in the hope of catching the culprits
More example sentences
  • Later that morning he went to the agent's office in the hope of being able to sign an agreement.
  • They have sweated and mastered all sorts of back-breaking and obscure sports in the hope of bringing home glory.
  • This latest discovery will allow scientists to build upon this framework of knowledge, in the hope of developing effective treatments in the future.

not a hope (in hell)

informal No chance at all: he hasn’t got a hope in hell of winning next year
More example sentences
  • Almost crushed by the label of the tour's greatest choker, she has been written off by her critics and supporters alike -a lovely woman but not a hope of winning an important title.
  • Apparently the lads have been practising in my absence and now think they are pretty handy - good luck boys, not a hope.

some hope

British informal Used to convey that there is very little chance that something will happen: he predicted a new world order in which nations would learn to live happily with their neighbours. Some hope!



Example sentences
  • The Scottish National Party is hoping that branding Tories as no - hopers and Labour MPs as nobodies will beat off both parties in different parts of Scotland.
  • It is very unfair, however, to condemn all ‘banded’ horses as no hopers.
  • They went into the game as no hopers, a team that had no right, said the critics, to even contemplate coming close to Tyrone.


Late Old English hopa (noun), hopian (verb), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch hoop (noun), hopen (verb), and German hoffen (verb).

  • The word hope is an ancient Germanic term. That hope springs eternal is thanks to the poet Alexander Pope, who wrote in his Essay on Man in 1732: ‘Hope springs eternal in the human breast. Man never is, but always to be blessed.’ See also Pandora's box

Words that rhyme with hope

aslope, cope, dope, elope, grope, interlope, lope, mope, nope, ope, pope, rope, scope, soap, taupe, tope, trope

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: hope

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.