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 The contents will hopefully make the boss happy enough to authorize an invitation. Alana Abramson, Time, "'We Followed the President's Orders.' Read Gordon Sondland's Full Impeachment Hearing Opening Statement," 20 Nov. 2019 The idea of a universal basic income system is simple: Give everyone in a country a small allotment of cash each year to hopefully prevent them from falling under a certain level of living. Brian Hamilton, Quartz, "Universal basic income is just a band-aid on a much bigger problem," 20 Nov. 2019 Four Miracle Bars will vomit Christmas decor — and cheer, but hopefully not alcohol — all over Colorado this year, from Larimer Square to Highland, Arvada and down to Colorado Springs. Josie Sexton, The Know, "Everything you need to know about Denver’s Christmas pop-up bars," 19 Nov. 2019 Don't worry, y'all, Team Kelly is coming back for season 18 (hopefully with even cooler jackets). Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "Um, Is Kelly Clarkson Leaving 'The Voice?' Her Las Vegas Residency Has Fans Worried," 10 Nov. 2019 Lawyers—while hopefully uniquely skilled in their profession—are not trained to offer a holistic support system, which people who have been affected by discrimination or harassment often need. Ariella Steinhorn, Quartz at Work, "I spent a year researching workplaces in the post-#MeToo era. Here’s what I learned," 18 Oct. 2019 Currently, the city is working on a 2.6 billion Clean Rivers Project, which will separate its sewage system and storm run-off systems—and hopefully make the river even cleaner. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Dolphins Are Finally Living and Breeding in the Potomac River Again," 2 Oct. 2019 And some of her alleged relationships would hopefully have been no big deal in 2019. Molly Lambert, The Hollywood Reporter, "Tell It Slant: Modern Women Writers Reflect on Emily Dickinson's Influence," 1 Nov. 2019 The recent memory of victory is hopefully not going to cloud the future challenges that are very rapidly emerging. NBC News, "How one Syrian camp shows the fight against ISIS isn't over," 20 Sep. 2019

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

26 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Hopefully.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hopefully?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=h&file=hopefu02. Accessed 7 December 2019.

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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

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


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