adjective hope·less \ ˈhō-pləs \
|Updated on: 10 Jul 2018
1 a : 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
2 a : 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



Examples of hopeless in a Sentence

  1. He felt confused and hopeless after losing his job.

  2. We were the most hopeless group of golfers you ever saw.

  3. He's very ill, but his condition isn't hopeless.

Recent Examples of hopeless from the Web

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.

First Known Use of hopeless


in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Synonym Discussion of 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

HOPELESS Defined for English Language Learners


  • : having or feeling no hope

  • : unable to be changed

  • : unable to be helped or improved : very bad

HOPELESS Defined for Kids


adjective hope·less \ ˈhō-pləs \
1 : having no hope
  • He feels hopeless about the future.
2 : offering no hope
  • The situation looks hopeless.





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peaceful, happy, or prosperous

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