forlorn hope


: a body of men selected to perform a perilous service
: a desperate or extremely difficult enterprise

Examples of forlorn hope in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web This seems a forlorn hope in light of continuing government hostility to the BBC and the wider attack on public service broadcasting in the United Kingdom. Simon J. Potter, Foreign Affairs, 31 July 2023 Freedom in Cuba is an ever more forlorn hope. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, 17 Dec. 2020 Japan had gambled on a forlorn hope of a short war, but found itself in a trap of its own making that involved a long war of attrition waged against the world's leading industrial power. Jeremy Hsu, Discover Magazine, 21 Aug. 2017 Rather, the real purpose is a forlorn hope to make Iran a strategic partner of sorts. Sean Durns, National Review, 5 Mar. 2022 The study strongly suggests that relying on military rapid response units to save diplomats is a forlorn hope. Michael Peck, Forbes, 24 Feb. 2021 This seems to be Blue and White’s favored option, though it is based on a forlorn hope. Bernard Avishai, The New Yorker, 27 Sep. 2019 However, expecting the Croatian soccer authorities to act the right way in such a situation was always going to be a forlorn hope. Martin Rogers, USA TODAY, 9 July 2018 Seeing as Croatia are already through to the last 16, this may turn out to be a forlorn hope., 22 June 2018

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'forlorn hope.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


by folk etymology from Dutch verloren hoop, literally, lost band

First Known Use

1579, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of forlorn hope was in 1579

Dictionary Entries Near forlorn hope

Cite this Entry

“Forlorn hope.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jul. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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