hope·​less | \ ˈhō-pləs How to pronounce hopeless (audio) \

Definition of hopeless

1a : having no expectation of good or success : despairing felt hopeless and alone
b : not susceptible to remedy or cure doctors say his condition is hopeless
c : incapable of redemption or improvement She's a hopeless romantic. the most hopeless group of golfers you've ever seen
2a : giving no reason to expect good or success : giving no ground for hope : desperate The situation looked hopeless.
b : incapable of solution, management, or accomplishment : impossible a hopeless task

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Other Words from hopeless

hopelessness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for hopeless

despondent, despairing, desperate, hopeless mean having lost all or nearly all hope. despondent implies a deep dejection arising from a conviction of the uselessness of further effort. despondent about yet another rejection despairing suggests the slipping away of all hope and often despondency. despairing appeals for the return of the kidnapped child desperate implies despair that prompts reckless action or violence in the face of defeat or frustration. one last desperate attempt to turn the tide of battle hopeless suggests despair and the cessation of effort or resistance and often implies acceptance or resignation. the situation of the trapped miners is hopeless

Examples of hopeless in a Sentence

He felt confused and hopeless after losing his job. We were the most hopeless group of golfers you ever saw. He's very ill, but his condition isn't hopeless.
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Recent Examples on the Web About 116 million Americans reported feelings of being down, depressed or hopeless on at least some days of the week prior to the survey. Bloomberg.com, "U.S. Cases Rise 1.5%; Americans Defer Medical Care: Virus Update," 25 May 2020 Between the disruptions, uncertainty and shocks to the global supply chain, the situation is unstable but not hopeless, experts say. Danielle Wiener-bronner, CNN, "What happens to our food supply if American farmers can't farm?," 31 Mar. 2020 So, my calling and my privilege is to be able to help people not feel helpless or hopeless but to understand the facts in a way that will help them navigate these difficult times. Gabby Shacknai, Fortune, "The Coronavirus Economy: How my job as a cosmetic dermatologist has changed," 4 Apr. 2020 We all of us—actors, musicians, poets, trick cyclists, prima ballerinas, curators, stage managers and master carpenters—feel grounded, cut off at the knee, hopeless and helpless to contribute. Anastasia Edel, The New York Review of Books, "Pandemic Journal," 21 Mar. 2020 Teams that were hapless and hopeless in the face of Bill Belichick and his dominant defense, which has allowed just nine offensive touchdowns in 10 games. BostonGlobe.com, "Facing Prescott, Watson, and Mahomes in consecutive weeks is good preparation for the Patriots to fine-tune for the postseason and find out where they really stand.," 22 Nov. 2019 In Philadelphia, over one-quarter (29 percent) of students in grades nine through 12 reported feeling sad or hopeless almost every day for an extended period (two or more weeks in a row) in 2011, according to the CCTC website. Michael Smerconish, Philly.com, "Why I'm donating the profits of my book to this amazing Philly organization | Michael Smerconish," 25 May 2018 Lopez: What’s your advice about hope to people feeling especially anxious and even hopeless now? Kathryn Jean Lopez, National Review, "Talking to the Ghost of Quarantine Future," 7 Apr. 2020 Writers like Jolie make the universal quality of such struggles resonate powerfully for their readers by describing how rapidly a brief respite of comfort can plunge into hopeless despair. Kim Kelly, The New Republic, "On Being White and Broke in America," 6 Apr. 2020

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

1534, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Time Traveler for hopeless

Time Traveler

The first known use of hopeless was in 1534

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Statistics for hopeless

Last Updated

28 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Hopeless.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hopeless. Accessed 5 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for hopeless


How to pronounce hopeless (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of hopeless

: having or feeling no hope
: unable to be changed
informal : unable to be helped or improved : very bad


hope·​less | \ ˈhō-pləs How to pronounce hopeless (audio) \

Kids Definition of hopeless

1 : having no hope He feels hopeless about the future.
2 : offering no hope The situation looks hopeless.

Other Words from hopeless

hopelessly adverb
hopelessness noun

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Comments on hopeless

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