hope·​ful·​ly | \ ˈhōp-fə-lē How to pronounce hopefully (audio) \

Definition of hopefully

1 : in a way that expresses desire with an expectation of fulfillment : in a hopeful manner gazed up at us hopefully
2 : it is hoped : I hope : we hope hopefully the rain will end soon

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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 On this side of the Atlantic, designer Christian Siriano is having his sewers work on reusable face masks—coverings that will hopefully be washable, to be used by non-medical hospital staff like social workers and receptionists, per . Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Gucci, Balenciaga, and More Kering-Owned Brands Pledge to Manufacture Face Masks Amid Coronavirus," 23 Mar. 2020 This story by Michelle Martinelli on the spotters at the Daytona 500 (which will hopefully be completed on Monday) is too good. Andy Nesbitt, For The Win, "MLB commissioner Rob Manfred spit in the face of all baseball fans on Sunday," 17 Feb. 2020 Along the way, fans will hopefully get answers to their most sought-after questions, including why Jamie hates Beth so much. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, "'Yellowstone' Season 4: All the Details We Know About the Show's Return," 8 Mar. 2020 Now, that massive record will continue for three additional seasons—and hopefully more! Erin Cavoto, Country Living, "A New Episode of 'Law & Order: SVU' Won't Air for Weeks," 5 Mar. 2020 That’s essential for helping us to understand and, hopefully, tame this new illness. Tara C. Smith, SELF, "Here’s Exactly Where to Get Accurate Coronavirus News," 3 Mar. 2020 Now, hopefully some other women will know that, too. Kaleigh Fasanella, Allure, "Ricki Lake Just Shaved Her Head After Struggling With Hair Loss for Over 30 Years," 2 Jan. 2020 Success means keeping Sonia’s brain, and those of others like her, healthy and fully functional for years or decades, hopefully for a lifetime. Scientific American, "The Married Researchers Racing to Stop Prion Disease," 29 Feb. 2020 The Wildcats will be best served driving on any transition opportunity, getting to the line and hopefully getting Northwestern standouts Madison Layden and/or Kendall Bostic into early foul trouble. Matthew Vantryon, Indianapolis Star, "Insider: Predictions and what to know about the Indiana girls basketball state finals," 28 Feb. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hopefully.' 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 hopefully

1593, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for hopefully

Time Traveler

The first known use of hopefully was in 1593

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Statistics for hopefully

Last Updated

1 Apr 2020

Cite this Entry

“Hopefully.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hopefully. Accessed 8 Apr. 2020.

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More Definitions for hopefully


How to pronounce hopefully (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of hopefully

: in a hopeful manner
: it is hoped : I hope : we hope

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Comments on hopefully

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