hope·​less | \ˈhō-pləs \

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

Synonyms & Antonyms for hopeless


despairing, desperate, despondent, forlorn


hopeful, optimistic

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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

Anti-money-laundering procedures were hopeless: Screening of customers and payments was done manually and there was no response to suspicious people and transactions. Paul J. Davies, WSJ, "Danske Shows Banks Still Miss the Usual Suspects," 19 Sep. 2018 By the numbers, the situation sounds pretty hopeless. Rachel Kaufman, Smithsonian, "Three Ways Bats Could Bounce Back From Devastating White Nose Syndrome," 18 June 2018 Talking or posting on social media about suicide about wanting to die or about feeling hopeless or trapped or a burden to others. Anne Saker, Cincinnati.com, "Assurex Health founder thought he understood mental health. Then his son died by suicide.," 2 Apr. 2018 To continue reading this story, TRY IT NOW Later, Van Exel would claim the plea for early vacation was a joke meant to inject levity into a hopeless situation. Jeff Mcdonald, San Antonio Express-News, "Still facing long odds, Spurs aim to bring pride with them on the road," 23 Apr. 2018 Perhaps Republican leaders have written off the 190th District as hopeless, since 87 percent of the voters there are Democrats, just 4 percent are Republicans, and 9 percent are independents or members of smaller political parties. Chris Brennan, Philly.com, "Nancy Pelosi pals around with convicted tax dodger at Dems fundraiser in Philly," 13 July 2018 During the recession and recovery, that distinction was crucial: The official unemployment rate ignored millions of people who had abandoned their job searches as hopeless. Ben Casselman, New York Times, "The Jobs Recovery: A Longer View," 1 June 2018 My dad is kind of a hopeless romantic, and Katherine’s awesome. Morgan M. Evans, Fox News, "David Foster's daughter, Erin, calls Katharine McPhee 'mommy' following engagement news," 4 July 2018 No single day highlights just how far this conflict has strayed into the disjointed, the absurd, the hopeless. Ben Wedeman, CNN, "The dream of 'peace in our time' in the Middle East died on Monday," 14 May 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near hopeless






hope not

hope so

Statistics for hopeless

Last Updated

13 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for hopeless

The first known use of hopeless was in 1534

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More Definitions for hopeless



English Language Learners Definition of hopeless

: having or feeling no hope

: unable to be changed

: unable to be helped or improved : very bad


hope·​less | \ˈhō-pləs \

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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More from Merriam-Webster on hopeless

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hopeless

Spanish Central: Translation of hopeless

Nglish: Translation of hopeless for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hopeless for Arabic Speakers

Comments on hopeless

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


by force of circumstances

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