A forlorn hope
Forlorn For*lorn", a. [OE., p. p. of forlesen to lose utterly, AS. forle['o]san (p. p. forloren); pref. for- + le['o]san (in comp.) to lose; cf. D. verliezen to lose, G. verlieren, Sw. f["o]rlora, Dan. forloren, Goth. fraliusan to lose. See {For-}, and {Lorn}, a., {Lose}, v. t.] 1. Deserted; abandoned; lost. [1913 Webster]

Of fortune and of hope at once forlorn. --Spenser. [1913 Webster]

Some say that ravens foster forlorn children. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

2. Destitute; helpless; in pitiful plight; wretched; miserable; almost hopeless; desperate. [1913 Webster]

For here forlorn and lost I tread. --Goldsmith. [1913 Webster]

The condition of the besieged in the mean time was forlorn in the extreme. --Prescott. [1913 Webster]

She cherished the forlorn hope that he was still living. --Thomson. [1913 Webster]

{A forlorn hope} [D. verloren hoop, prop., a lost band or troop; verloren, p. p. of verliezen to lose + hoop band; akin to E. heap. See {For-}, and {Heap}.] (Mil.), a body of men (called in F. {enfants perdus}, in G. {verlornen posten}) selected, usually from volunteers, to attempt a breach, scale the wall of a fortress, or perform other extraordinarily perilous service; also, a desperate case or enterprise.

Syn: Destitute, lost; abandoned; forsaken; solitary; helpless; friendless; hopeless; abject; wretched; miserable; pitiable. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Forlorn hope — is a military term that comes from the Dutch verloren hoop , literally lost heap , and adapted as lost troop . [ Oxford English Dictionary : forlorn hope] [cite book last = Kilian first = Cornelius authorlink = :nl:Cornelius Kiliaan coauthors =… …   Wikipedia

  • Forlorn Hope — ist ein militärischer Begriff, der sich aus dem niederländischen Begriff „verloren hoop“ ableitet, nicht aus dem Englischen. Gemeint ist damit der sogenannte „verlorene Haufen“, was im weiteren, ins Englische übertragenen Sinne „lost heap“… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • forlorn hope — n. [altered < Du verloren hoop, lit., lost group < verloren, pp. of verliezen, to lose (akin to FORLORN) + hoop, a band, group; akin to HEAP] 1. a group of soldiers detached from the main group for a very dangerous mission 2. a desperate… …   English World dictionary

  • forlorn hope — ► forlorn hope a persistent or desperate hope that is unlikely to be fulfilled. [ORIGIN: from Dutch verloren hoop lost troop , originally denoting a band of soldiers picked to begin an attack, many of whom would not survive.] Main Entry: ↑forlorn …   English terms dictionary

  • forlorn hope — now means only ‘a faint hope, an enterprise which has little hope of success’, but its form has nothing to do with the English word hope. It was a 16c adaptation of Dutch verloren hoop, literally meaning ‘lost troop’, and in English originally… …   Modern English usage

  • forlorn hope — forlorn′ hope′ n. 1) a perilous or desperate enterprise 2) a vain hope 3) Obs. a group of soldiers assigned to perform some unusually dangerous service • Etymology: 1530–40 …   From formal English to slang

  • forlorn hope — noun /fəˌlɔːnˈhəʊp/ a) A small troop picked to make an advance attack, or the first attack; a storming party. Arnold, therefore, as usual with him, led the forlorn hope, marching about one hundred yards before the main body. b) Any dangerous or… …   Wiktionary

  • forlorn hope — 1. a perilous or desperate enterprise. 2. a vain hope. 3. Obs. a group of soldiers assigned to perform some unusually dangerous service. [1530 40; folk etymological alter. of D verloren hoop lit., lost troop] * * * …   Universalium

  • forlorn hope — /fəlɔn ˈhoʊp/ (say fuhlawn hohp) noun 1. a vain hope; an undertaking almost certain to fail. 2. a perilous or desperate enterprise. {Dutch, alteration of verloren hoop, literally, lost troop} …   Australian English dictionary

  • forlorn hope — a persistent or desperate hope that is unlikely to be fulfilled. [C16: from Du. verloren hoop lost troop , orig. denoting a band of soldiers picked to begin an attack, many of whom would not survive.] → forlorn …   English new terms dictionary

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