hope·​less ˈhō-pləs How to pronounce hopeless (audio)
: having no expectation of good or success : despairing
felt hopeless and alone
: not susceptible to remedy or cure
doctors say his condition is hopeless
: incapable of redemption or improvement
She's a hopeless romantic.
the most hopeless group of golfers you've ever seen
: giving no reason to expect good or success : giving no ground for hope : desperate
The situation looked hopeless.
: incapable of solution, management, or accomplishment : impossible
a hopeless task
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

Example Sentences

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.
Recent Examples on the Web The phase two trial at UAB will explore whether the drug can help those suffering from demoralization, which is defined as feeling helpless, hopeless or lacking purpose. Amy Yurkanin | , al, 21 Mar. 2023 Before the pair first meets one fateful day, neither Danny Cho (Yeun) nor Amy Lau (Wong) have any way of knowing just how hopeless, burned out, and adrift the other is feeling about their personal lives. Charles Pulliam-moore, The Verge, 15 Mar. 2023 But as Andrei’s lifeless body rests at the front of the stage, ignored as the cast erects an ornate podium for Kutuzov to lie in state, Tcherniakov leaves the audience with a hopeless message. Joshua Barone, New York Times, 10 Mar. 2023 But not taking those risks is a hopeless point of view to start from. CBS News, 8 Mar. 2023 Teens who are bullied may feel isolated or unsafe, both physically and emotionally, as well as helpless and hopeless. Jenna Ryu, USA TODAY, 16 Feb. 2023 At first, Marcus sees the team as hopeless, and who can blame him, given all the slapstick shtick Farrelly puts them through? Peter Debruge, Variety, 7 Mar. 2023 That’s exceedingly unlikely to happen by chance, just as guessing the right pattern to fake a digital signature is provably hopeless. Ben Brubaker, Quanta Magazine, 2 Mar. 2023 César isn't an overwhelmingly lovable character, but his tenderness in scenes with Sofía reveals the hopeless romanticism lurking below his swaggering surface. Wesley Stenzel, EW.com, 27 Feb. 2023 See More

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.

Word History

First Known Use

1534, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of hopeless was in 1534

Dictionary Entries Near hopeless

Cite this Entry

“Hopeless.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hopeless. Accessed 25 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


hope·​less ˈhō-pləs How to pronounce hopeless (audio)
: having no expectation of good or success
: giving no reason for hope : desperate
a hopeless situation
: incapable of solution or accomplishment : impossible
a hopeless task
hopelessly adverb
hopelessness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on hopeless

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