Allegory of hope; Oil on canvas, Francesco Guardi, 1747

Hope is the emotional state which promotes the belief in a positive outcome related to events and circumstances in one's life.[1] It is the "feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best" or the act of "look[ing] forward to with desire and reasonable confidence" or "feel[ing] that something desired may happen". [2] Other definitions are "to cherish a desire with anticipation"; "to desire with expectation of obtainment"; or "to expect with confidence".[3] In the English language the word can be used as either a noun or a verb, although hope as a concept has a similar meaning in either use. [4]


In psychology

One psychologist argues that hope "...comes into play when our circumstances are dire", when "things are not going well or at least there’s considerable uncertainty about how things will turn out". She states that "[h]ope literally opens us up...[and] removes the blinders of fear and despair and allows us to see the big picture [, thus allowing us to] become creative" and have "[b]elief in [a] better future". [5]

"Psychologist, C.R. Snyder and his colleagues say that hope is cultivated when we have a goal in mind, determination that a goal can be reached, and a plan on how to reach those goals".[6] Hopeful people are "like the little engine that could, [because] they keep telling themselves "I think I can, I think I can".[7]

Hope is distinct from positive thinking, which refers to a therapeutic or systematic process used in psychology for reversing pessimism. The term "false hope" refers to a hope based entirely around a fantasy or an extremely unlikely outcome.

As a literary concept

Hope is a common theme in cultural works across the world, and has a strong place in both classical and contemporary western literature as well as in works of world literature.

A classic reference which has generally entered modern parlance is the concept that "Hope springs eternal" taken from Alexander Pope's Essay on Man , the phrase reading "Hope springs eternal in the human breast, Man never is, but always to be blest:" [8]

Hope is key concept in many classic and contemporary fictional works. It can be used as a plot device and is often a motivating force for change in dynamic characters. A commonly understood reference from western popular culture is to the subtitle "A New Hope" from the original first installment (now considered Episode IV) in the Star Wars science fiction epic space opera . [9] The subtitle refers to one of the lead characters, Luke Skywalker, who is expected in the future to allow good to triumph over evil within the plot of the films.

In religion

Hope is a key concept in most major world religions, often signifying the "hope" that an individual or a collective group will reach a concept of heaven.

In Christianity

"In many traditional christian texts, the word is an indication of certainty and a positive expectation of future reward. “Hope” in the Holy Bible means “a strong and confident expectation.” Though archaic today in modern terms, hope is akin to trust and a confident expectation".[10] The author of the book of Romans, Paul the Apostle argued that hope was a source of salvation for Christians, but is ambiguous as to the nature of hope within the christian religion.[11]

According to the Holman Bible Dictionary, hope is a "[t]rustful expectation, particularly with reference to the fulfillment of God's promises. Hope, is the anticipation of a favorable outcome under God's guidance[;]... the confidence that what God has done for us in the past guarantees our participation in what God will do in the future.[12]

The concept is considered one of the three theological virtues of the Christian religion. [13] "Hope is an essential and fundamental element of Christian life, so essential indeed, that, like faith and love, it can itself designate the essence of Christianity".[14].

See also


  1. ^ hope. (n.d.). The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Retrieved March 18, 2008, from Dictionary.com.
  2. ^ http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/hope Accessed on July 22, 2011
  3. ^ http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hope Accessed on July 22, 2011
  4. ^ Oxford English Dictionary hope, n.1 Second edition, 1989; online version June 2011. [1]; accessed 19 August 2011. Earlier version first published in New English Dictionary, 1899. hope, v. 1 [2]
  5. ^ Barbara L. Fredrickson. "Why Choose Hope?" March 23, 2009. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/positivity/200903/why-choose-hope Accessed on July 22, 2011
  6. ^ Elisha Goldstein. "Breaking down Barack Obama’s Psychology of Hope and how it may help you in trying times". http://www.mentalhelp.net/poc/view_doc.php?type=doc&id=28966&cn=110 Accessed July 22, 2011
  7. ^ http://www.mentalhelp.net/poc/view_doc.php?type=doc&id=28966&cn=110 Accessed July 22, 2011
  8. ^ Essay on Man (1733) by Alexander Pope http://books.google.com/books?id=R8pEAAAAYAAJ&dq=Essays%20on%20Man%2C%20Pope&pg=PA11#v=onepage&q&f=false p. 48 (1811 ed.,London)
  9. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0076759/
  10. ^ http://bible.org/article/hope Accessed on July 22, 2011
  11. ^ Romans 8:24-25 states "For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one also hope for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it". http://bible.org/article/hope
  12. ^ Holman Bible Dictionary http://www.studylight.org/dic/hbd/view.cgi?number=T2841 Accessed on July 22, 2011
  13. ^ "hope" A Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. Edited by Elizabeth Knowles. Oxford University Press, 2006. Oxford University Press.
  14. ^ Easton's Bible Dictionary http://bible-library.com/hope Accessed on July 22, 2011

Further reading

  • Averill, James R. Rules of hope. Springer-Verlag, 1990.
  • Miceli, Maria and Cristiano Castelfranchi. "Hope: The Power of Wish and Possibility" in Theory Psychology. April 2010 vol. 20 no. 2 251-276.
  • Kierkegaard, Søren A. The Sickness Unto Death. Princeton University Press, 1995.
  • Snyder, C. R. The psychology of hope: you can get there from here. Simon and Schuster, 1994.
  • Snyder, C. R. Handbook of hope: theory, measures, & applications. Academic [Press], 2000.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Hope — steht für: HOPE (Ausschuss), Vereinigung der europäischen Krankenhäuser Hope (Familienname), ein Familienname Hope (Film), ein US amerikanischer Film Hope (Kelly Family), ein Charity Album der Kelly Family Hope (Programmiersprache), eine… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Hope — • The desire of something together with the expectation of obtaining it Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Hope     Hope     † …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Hope & Co. — Hope Co. is the name of a famous Dutch bank that spanned two and a half centuries. Though the founders were Scotsmen, the bank was located in Amsterdam, and at the close of the 18th century it had offices in London as well.Early daysSix of eight… …   Wikipedia

  • HOPE VI — is a major HUD plan meant to revitalize the absolute worst public housing projects into mixed income developments.cite web |url= http://www.newurbannews.com/hopeVI.html|title= Hope VI funds new urban neighborhoods|accessdate=2007 07 26 |publisher …   Wikipedia

  • HOPE-X — HOPE est un projet japonais d avion spatial expérimental conçu dans le cadre d un partenariat entre la NASDA et le NAL (qui font tous deux maintenant partie de la JAXA). Le projet, lancé dans les années 1980, a été considéré durant une grande… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Hope — Hope, AK U.S. Census Designated Place in Alaska Population (2000): 137 Housing Units (2000): 175 Land area (2000): 51.703701 sq. miles (133.911964 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.081422 sq. miles (0.210883 sq. km) Total area (2000): 51.785123 sq.… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Hope UK — is a national Christian charity located at 25(f) Copperfield Street, London, England which is dedicated to educating children and young people about the perils of drug and alcohol abuse.It began as the Band of Hope in 1847 in Leeds, to teach and… …   Wikipedia

  • HOPE — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Hope est un mot voulant dire espoir en anglais. Il peut aussi être utilisé comme prénom féminin. Sommaire 1 Patronyme 2 Toponymes …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Hope — Hope, n. [AS., akin to D. hoop, hope, Sw. hopp, Dan. haab, MHG. hoffe. Hope in forlorn hope is different word. See Forlorn hope, under {Forlorn}.] 1. A desire of some good, accompanied with an expectation of obtaining it, or a belief that it is… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Hope X — ist ein ehemaliges Raumgleiterprojekt der ehemaligen japanischen Raumfahrtagentur NASDA (National Space Development Agency) in Zusammenarbeit mit National Aerospace Laboratory of Japan (NAL). Inzwischen wurden beide Organisationen in der Japan… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • hope — [hōp] n. [ME < OE hopa, akin to Du hoop; see the v.] 1. a feeling that what is wanted is likely to happen; desire accompanied by expectation 2. the thing that one has a hope for 3. a reason for hope 4. a person or thing on which one may base… …   English World dictionary