for·lorn | \ fər-ˈlȯrn , 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, 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 Tan certainly has enough bandwidth to handle these heavy topics, sifting them through a single family with forlorn honesty and compassion. Grace Z. Li, USA TODAY, "Chinese-American expat family drama sparks Lucy Tan's promising debut novel," 10 July 2018 Her presence in the room feels heavy, forlorn, and already exhausted. Morgan Baila,, "Sharp Objects Premiere Recap: Home Is Where The Murder Is," 9 July 2018 The forlorn structure in Abu Dis lies in ruins, its entrance overgrown with weeds. Washington Post, "AP PHOTOS: Unfinished Palestinian parliament a grim symbol," 6 July 2018 As centuries of forlorn singletons have learned and generations of songwriters have mastered, one of the best cures for heartbreak is the balm of music that speaks to our souls — or maybe helps us rationalize away the tears. Raisa Bruner, Time, "These Are the Best Songs to Help You Get Over a Breakup," 30 May 2018 Rebecca Bunting saw the world through a different lens, one that saw beauty in the forgotten and forlorn. Lisa Gutierrez, kansascity, "This 'gypsy soul' gave life to urban exploring. In the end, it took hers away," 7 June 2018 But Charles’s site, arguably the better parcel on the south side of the entrance to the transit center, sits empty and forlorn. New York Times, "In Jersey City, It’s Kushner vs. Kushner in a Race to Develop," 21 May 2018 The scenes that ensue based on that concept are a ramshackle hour of forlorn yammering. Dan Jakes, Chicago Reader, "Arts / Performing Arts / Theater The best and rest of Rhinofest," 8 Feb. 2018 Most days, though, the quarter-mile walk from United Nations Plaza to City Hall is forlorn at best and forbidding at worst. John King,, "Civic Center makeover: Here’s the plan to revamp the heart of SF," 29 June 2018

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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Statistics for forlorn

Last Updated

31 Aug 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for forlorn

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

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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 \

Kids Definition of forlorn

: sad from being left alone

Other words from forlorn

forlornly adverb The dog howled forlornly.

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Comments on forlorn

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an open space surrounded by woods

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