Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

forlorn

play
adjective for·lorn \fər-ˈlȯrn, fȯr-\

Simple Definition of forlorn

  • : sad and lonely

  • : empty and in poor condition

  • : not having much chance of success : nearly hopeless

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of forlorn

  1. 1 a :  bereft, forsaken <left quite forlorn of hope> b :  sad and lonely because of isolation or desertion :  desolate <a forlorn landscape>

  2. 2 :  being in poor condition :  miserable, wretched <forlorn tumbledown buildings>

  3. 3 :  nearly hopeless <a forlorn attempt>

forlornly

adverb

forlornness

play \-ˈlȯrn-nəs\ noun

Examples of forlorn in a sentence

  1. Against the forlorn backdrop of the muddy terrain the media circus has left behind, the young mother is photographed for a fashion spread wearing a … white dress. —James Wolcott, Vanity Fair, September 1998

  2. There is nothing quite so forlorn as a closed factory—Vic Wilcox knows, having supervised a shutdown himself in his time. —David Lodge, Nice Work, 1990

  3. Like Ozymandias, once king of kings but now two legs of a broken statue in Percy Shelley's desert, the great facade of Union Station in Washington, D.C., stands forlorn … —Stephen Jay Gould, Natural History, November 1986

  4. <she was forlorn when she found out the trip had been cancelled>

  5. <a forlorn wanderer far from home>



Origin and Etymology of forlorn

Middle English forloren, from Old English, past participle of forlēosan to lose, from for- + lēosan to lose — more at lose


First Known Use: before 12th century

Synonym Discussion of forlorn

alone, solitary, lonely, lonesome, lone, forlorn, desolate mean isolated from others. alone stresses the objective fact of being by oneself with slighter notion of emotional involvement than most of the remaining terms <everyone needs to be alone sometimes>. solitary may indicate isolation as a chosen course <glorying in the calm of her solitary life> but more often it suggests sadness and a sense of loss <left solitary by the death of his wife>. lonely adds to solitary a suggestion of longing for companionship <felt lonely and forsaken>. lonesome heightens the suggestion of sadness and poignancy <an only child often leads a lonesome life>. lone may replace lonely or lonesome but typically is as objective as alone <a lone robin pecking at the lawn>. forlorn stresses dejection, woe, and listlessness at separation from one held dear <a forlorn lost child>. desolate implies inconsolable grief at loss or bereavement <desolate after her brother's death>.

FORLORN Defined for Kids

forlorn

play
adjective for·lorn \fər-ˈlȯrn\

Definition of forlorn for Students

  1. :  sad from being left alone

forlornly

adverb <The dog howled forlornly.>




Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up forlorn? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

prophetic or oracular

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

confounded-person

Which is a synonym of indolent?

frenetic lazy philistine melancholy
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ