for·​lorn | \ fər-ˈlȯrn How to pronounce forlorn (audio) , fȯr- \

Definition of forlorn

1a : bereft, forsaken left quite forlorn of hope
b : sad and lonely because of isolation or desertion : desolate a forlorn landscape
2 : being in poor condition : miserable, wretched forlorn tumbledown buildings
3 : nearly hopeless a forlorn attempt

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Other Words from forlorn

forlornly adverb
forlornness \ fər-​ˈlȯrn-​nəs How to pronounce forlorn (audio) , fȯr-​ \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of forlorn in a Sentence

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 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 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 she was forlorn when she found out the trip had been cancelled a forlorn wanderer far from home
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Recent Examples on the Web But in June, James had arrived as the first pick in the NBA Draft, a shot of hope into a forlorn landscape. Doug Lesmerises, cleveland, "For 8 years, the Indians won and carried the losing Browns; now let Browns return the favor: Doug Lesmerises," 4 Apr. 2021 Negusti said, trembling and searching the forlorn faces of customers who had come in the morning to drink the day away. Washington Post, "In Sudan’s sweltering camps, refugees from Tigray dream of independence from Ethiopia," 26 Mar. 2021 Governor Andrew Cuomo has floated the idea of turning Manhattan’s stock of forlorn office buildings into a housing pipeline, mostly by allowing the state to pre-empt the city’s zoning code. Justin Davidson, Curbed, "Would You Want to Live in an Office Tower on East 38th Street?," 19 Feb. 2021 But for now the dim sum mainstay Yank Sing is the only thing open inside, and the mood is mighty forlorn. John King, San Francisco Chronicle, "A San Francisco fountain trickles to a halt, a victim of changing times," 16 Feb. 2021 His unchanging expression is ineffably poignant — at once adamant and forlorn, male and female. New York Times, "Photography in the Raw," 4 Feb. 2021 Fifty miles downriver, hundreds of migrant adults and children have huddled for more than a year on a fenced and forlorn Mexican field near a border bridge, awaiting a chance to plead for U.S. asylum. Dudley Althaus,, "Biden’s border plans raise hopes and fears in South Texas," 23 Jan. 2021 Fans online wondered if the song’s forlorn feel was meant as a tribute to J Dilla and to MF DOOM, who had died a few months prior. Hua Hsu, The New Yorker, "The Obsessive Beat-Making of Madlib," 18 Jan. 2021 Since its discovery at least two weeks ago, people have been circulating photos of the forlorn creature, taking selfies with it and making clever, tongue-in-cheek comments, as people who post on social media do. Doug Maccash,, "The Broad Street stingray: A mysterious rotting fish spurs a smelly search in New Orleans," 14 Jan. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'forlorn.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of forlorn

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for forlorn

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

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Time Traveler for forlorn

Time Traveler

The first known use of forlorn was before the 12th century

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Statistics for forlorn

Last Updated

9 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Forlorn.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for forlorn



English Language Learners Definition of forlorn

: sad and lonely
: empty and in poor condition
: not having much chance of success : nearly hopeless


for·​lorn | \ fər-ˈlȯrn How to pronounce forlorn (audio) \

Kids Definition of forlorn

: sad from being left alone

Other Words from forlorn

forlornly adverb The dog howled forlornly.

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