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

If Domino's and Papa John's aren't your preferred pizza places, hopefully there's a Pizza Hut in your area. Amina Lake Abdelrahman, Good Housekeeping, "Starbucks, McDonald's, and Other Fast Food Restaurants Open on Thanksgiving Day," 12 Oct. 2018 And, hopefully, when my son grows up into a man, it will be gone forever. Michelle Ruiz, Vogue, "Yes, Donald Trump, it is "a Very Scary Time For Young Men in America"—But Not For the Reasons You Think," 2 Oct. 2018 When winter arrives, drivers will be quickly reaching to for their car's thermostat, hopefully going from zero to toasty as soon as possible—but that doesn't always happen. Zachary Palmer, Popular Mechanics, "How To Fix Your Car's Heater," 6 Sep. 2018 The team can hopefully get some sleep, but the project is not over. Emily Dreyfuss, WIRED, "'ICE Is Everywhere': Using Library Science to Map the Separation Crisis," 25 June 2018 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

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

12 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

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).


obstinately defiant of authority

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