hope·ful·ly | \ˈhōp-fə-lē \

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

By early Monday morning, residents of Oakland County will (hopefully) be able to travel freely on westbound I-696. Caroline Blackmon, Detroit Free Press, "Final I-696 westbound road closure this weekend in metro Detroit," 22 June 2018 There’s so much truth telling (well, hopefully) that makes politics and comedy great bed partners. Gwynedd Stuart, Los Angeles Magazine, "Former Michiganders Are Getting Politically Active in Their Home State All the Way From L.A.," 11 June 2018 Portland Track will put on the Stumptown Twilight Friday with a similar focus and, hopefully, a similar cast of characters. Ken Goe, OregonLive.com, "Fans at the Portland Track Festival saw excellent racing: Oregon track & field rundown," 11 June 2018 In this show, which is so often bleak and difficult, Nick’s a part of the narrative that is hopefully cathartic. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Max Minghella Talks Playing the Only Good Man in Gilead on The Handmaid's Tale," 5 July 2018 No doubt the new fragment of text from Greece will soon be added to that project, and hopefully there will be even more to sing about soon. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Oldest Greek Fragment of Homer Discovered on Clay Tablet," 11 July 2018 Though the tigers — Antonella, Natasha, Zoppa, Girona and Mondo — have quite the road trip ahead of them, from Southeast Spain to the Isle of Wight Zoo in the English Channel, the journey will hopefully be their last as traveling circus animals. Saryn Chorney, PEOPLE.com, "Five Rescued Circus Tigers Get a New Lease on Life as Retirees at U.K.'s Isle of Wight Zoo," 21 June 2018 But hopefully Snapchat won’t be around for your kid. Recode Staff, Recode, "Full transcript: Silicon Valley Congressman Ro Khanna on Recode Decode," 15 June 2018 The event will hopefully be representative of that. Gwynedd Stuart, Los Angeles Magazine, "Former Michiganders Are Getting Politically Active in Their Home State All the Way From L.A.," 11 June 2018

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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Statistics for hopefully

Last Updated

17 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for hopefully

The first known use of hopefully was in 1593

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More Definitions for hopefully



English Language Learners Definition of hopefully

: in a hopeful manner

: it is hoped : I hope : we hope

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More from Merriam-Webster on hopefully

Spanish Central: Translation of hopefully

Nglish: Translation of hopefully for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hopefully for Arabic Speakers

Comments on hopefully

What made you want to look up hopefully? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


not any or not one

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