hope·​ful·​ly ˈhōp-fə-lē How to pronounce hopefully (audio)
: in a way that expresses desire with an expectation of fulfillment : in a hopeful manner
gazed up at us hopefully
: it is hoped : I hope : we hope
hopefully the rain will end soon
Can hopefully mean 'I hope'?: Usage Guide

In the 1960s the second sense of hopefully ("it is hoped"), which dates to the early 18th century and had been in fairly widespread use since at least the 1930s, underwent a surge in popularity. A surge of criticism followed in reaction, but the criticism took no account of the grammar of adverbs. Hopefully when used to mean "it is hoped" is a member of a class of adverbs known as disjuncts. Disjuncts serve as a means by which the author or speaker can comment directly to the reader or hearer usually on the content of the sentence to which they are attached. Many other adverbs (such as interestingly, frankly, clearly, luckily, unfortunately) are similarly used; most are so ordinary as to excite no comment or interest whatsoever. The "it is hoped" sense of hopefully is entirely standard.

Examples of hopefully in a Sentence

They gazed up at us hopefully. Hopefully, things will get better soon.
Recent Examples on the Web The stacks of instruments peppered across the apartment were being repaired in an ambitious — and hopefully affordable — effort to concoct fresh sounds for their next record. Richard Villegas, Rolling Stone, 21 Feb. 2024 Twitter had never been profitable in its ten-year existence, and turning a profit suddenly became a top priority to win back investors and hopefully jump-start the stock price. Kurt Wagner, Fortune, 21 Feb. 2024 But to her delight (and hopefully that of viewers), Chani’s role in Dune: Part Two is expanded even beyond her presence in Herbert’s book. Christian Holub, EW.com, 21 Feb. 2024 But what should Ollie’s main objectives be to hopefully lose the Interim tag? Tyler Small, Forbes, 20 Feb. 2024 Her book empowers Black children, and hopefully won’t enrage adults For the past year, staff members and parents have been working to raise money to give students at the school the library of their dreams. Theresa Vargas, Washington Post, 17 Feb. 2024 Given that Zendaya is a cohost of this year's event, hopefully the entire Dune cast & co. will show up and show out. Emily Tannenbaum, Glamour, 17 Feb. 2024 Also, speaking of this time in the world, trying to make something that’s loving and joyful and still hopefully sharp and incisive and all the naughty scenes that people are used to from me, but with a kind of underlying, underpinned message of love and hope. Ellise Shafer, Variety, 17 Feb. 2024 My only goal in that was to hopefully bring attention to it. Jon Blistein, Rolling Stone, 9 Feb. 2024 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1593, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of hopefully was in 1593

Dictionary Entries Near hopefully

Cite this Entry

“Hopefully.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hopefully. Accessed 5 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


hope·​ful·​ly ˈhōp-fə-lē How to pronounce hopefully (audio)
: in a hopeful manner
a dog looking hopefully for a tidbit
: I hope : we hope
hopefully it won't rain tomorrow
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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